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The Valemount Legion is celebrating 50 years of service. This past weekend, dignitaries from across Canada arrived in Valemount for the festivities, which included a parade, ceremony, museum tours, dinner, and pancake breakfast.

On September 21, a ceremony was held dedicating a new Howitzer cannon to the memory of the Canadian Forces who died in the Canoe River train wreck of 1950. The Valemount Legion Branch 266 dedicated the howitzer on the 63rd anniversary of the crash. A howitzer is a type of short-barreled cannon, usually intended to fire shells at a short range and high elevation. This howitzer has a 105 mm barrel, is American made, and was purchased by the Canadian Military in 1950 for $51,500. The local legion did not have to pay for the howitzer, but the retransfer required United States Department of State approval, which took some time. It also required decommissioning, a process of welding and sealing the barrel, breach and moving parts so that it cannot be fired.

Former legion president Les Dammann says the purpose of installing the howitzer was not to glorify war in any way, but to recognize and remember our past, and those that fought for us. Decommissioned howitzers have been used in memorials across Canada and around the world to represent the Armed Forces, just as anchors often represent the Navy, and propellers the Air Force. It is next to the existing memorial cairn.

By: Korie Marshall