Sidney Day will see a colour party from the Royal Canadian Legion lead the parade. (Black Press File)

Veterans shine shoes to march in Sidney Days parade

ANAVets hopes colour party reminds community they’re here to help

Some of Sidney’s elder statesmen and women are shining their shoes and fixing their medals in preparation for Monday’s Sidney Days celebrations.

Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 37 and Sidney’s Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans (ANAVets) will form a colour party, carrying around 10 important flags.

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As well as the national Maple Leaf flag, the Union Jack (to represent the Queen), the NATO flag, branch flag, B.C. Provincial flag and colours representing the army, navy and air force will be included.

Setting off at 11:20 a.m. from Sidney Tire and marching behind the pipe band, the seven-strong colour party will be followed by about 15 veterans who will all perform an “eyes right” at the raised viewing platform containing local dignitaries, outside Starbucks.

As well as being an important part of Sidney and the Saanich Peninsula, the veterans are keen for their presence to remind people not only of their past service but current endeavours too.

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“It gives us an opportunity to remind people that we’re available to them, in particular the veterans, but we do much more than just support the veterans. We’re a community group, and do other things like support young people through bursaries,” says Royal Canadian Legion Branch 37 Membership Chair Frank Hawbolt.

Activities like bursaries often go unheralded and the Legion would like people to know they are very active and willing to help those in need.

“We take care of veterans that you don’t see because of privacy and when they call for help we obviously respond. We’d like people to be reminded that there is such a thing as the Royal Canadian Legion, there is such a thing as veterans and there is such a thing as community support,” says Hawbolt.

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Royal Canadian Legion Branch 37 will also parade in front of the Beacon Park bandstand prior to speeches on Sunday at 7 p.m. They will then form a colour party and march in the Sidney Days parade on Monday, July 1 at around 11:20 a.m.

Organized by the Peninsula Celebrations Society for the 35th consecutive year, the parade will feature live music, marching bands and colourful floats.

To learn more or see a schedule visit peninsulacelebrations.ca.

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