So much history to explore

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Jason Pankratz - Tillsonburg Legion

On Saturday, Feb. 20th the Tillsonburg Legion held its annual Legion Public Speaking Contest.

Eighteen students from various community schools participated. It was great to listen to these young people speak confidently on their chosen topics. Public speaking is a lost art. There are many aspects that are included, beyond the topic. Tone, pace, volume and body language have to be considered. The late Comrade Bill Findley loved being part of the speech contest. He admired the courage, preparation and dedication of the students. He was also very proud in having the Legion part of the young people’s experience.

It is rare to see ceremony and formality in our society. But the formality of a Legion event is still present. The Sergeant at Arms marches in the colour guard, we sing O Canada, hear the Last Post and Reveille, stand in silence and remember the sacrifices given. I’m sure the students are more focused on their task at hand, reciting their speeches quietly inside and psyching themselves up. It is still an important ceremony to witness and be a part of.

On another note, have you been in the military gallery in Annandale House? Thanks to Jerry Turner from the Tillsonburg Military Club, he has provided the museum with a number of historical resources. Through many years, tons of research, pictures and miles put on his vehicle, Jerry has compiled a detailed collection of war records. These binders contain war records of soldiers from the First and Second World Wars, cenotaphs and death notices. He has created two large volumes just for Tillsonburg, but he has also recognized surrounding communities.

You can also see a neat collection of militaria. Display cases hold helmets, uniforms, medals and some other great war artifacts. See what I did there? Great War artifacts are great war artifacts.

That reminds me, I’ve asked numerous people and no one seems to know. What happened to the ‘book of names’ of Tillsonburg’s war dead that used to be outside the old library? I’ve heard that it was removed shortly before the library was torn down in 1975. Where others say it was gone way before. If you know, contact me.

A few weeks ago I gave my friends a tour through Annandale House. Susan, Pat and Gordon were fascinated by the House. The whole family loves history. Susan and Pat were flipping through one of Jerry’s binders and randomly found information on people they had heard of from Otterville. Susan then found the name of a relative who was in the service. It’s a small world! Gordon is a cool kid too! He loves artifacts, books and stories. He had some great questions and his excitement was clearly evident.

This family is a perfect example of how to introduce and encourage history in youth. And there are so many ways to do it. Local heritage is everywhere. A drive through a community can lead you towards a museum or you can marvel at historic architecture, monuments or historical events. The Legion is always interested in promoting history and remembrance. We are an active part of our community that supports our youth. 

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