Much can be gained from history, volunteerism

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Jason Pankratz - Tillsonburg Legion

A while ago I came into possession of a cannonball.

I know that is a unique way to start an article. But I’ve been looking to acquire them. Cannonballs fascinate me. They symbolize historical conflict and war of the past. There is something classic and historically nostalgic about cannonballs.

I am interested in them because their significance is relatively irrelevant to today’s conflict. They hold a symbolic presence. When I asked people what they thought about cannonballs they said, “the War of 1812”... “pirates”... and “the Civil War.”

I like them for a couple of reasons. First, they are heavy. I am impressed by those who had to create, transport and load these implements. Today, many are salvaged and used as down-riggers for fishing. Secondly, I am horrified by the damage and carnage they created. While I was in Gettysburg as a teen, I saw a barn that was hit by a cannonball. No, it was not destroyed. It was hit once and the hole still exists. That hole represents the damage and history of a conflict of the past. You know that I am fascinated by artifacts. These remnants speak volumes to the past.

I have friends who have a son who is fascinated by history and artifacts. He is 11 and this interest has been fostered by his parents. They take the time to present history as something that is tangible as well as lessons for learning. As a young man, Gordon understands trends and time periods in history. He is captivated by stories of the past and reads books in order to learn the experiences of others. I had my friends over during Christmas break and gave Gordon a gift from my collection. Not only do I believe in collecting and documenting history, I believe in passing it on too. Though he is young, he understood what the artifact was and that it was something to be prized. Not because it was of great value, like many collectors, but rather, that it was a treasure from my collection and that it was something for him now to treasure.

It is my hope that someday, when Gordon is older, he will join the Legion and be part of its historic legacy. By then, WWI will seem like ancient history and WWII as a shadow of his parent’s memory (they had relatives who served).

It is with hope that I wish the Legion remains an active staple in communities when he is of age to join. Legions are now seen as service clubs, which is not a negative aspect of their service; I hope they continue to represent Veterans and their families.

Please reconnect with our local Legion Varnavair Branch 153. We want you to be active and participate; pay your dues, come in for a beverage, volunteer and come to our events.

Some key dates to put onto your calendar are:

February 3: Featuring Kiley Joe Masson Dance. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at door if not sold out!

Sunday, February 11 hosts our annual Valentine’s Brunch from 9 a.m. until supplies last for $10. The last several years have sold out so come early and bring everyone you know!

Inquire about the opportunities to be involved in sports at the Legion too! There is billiards, darts, and different card games. It is a great way to spend an evening or afternoon if you have nothing to do. The Legion is about meeting new people, enjoying camaraderie, and finding a space that you enjoy to frequent.

Remember to come to our “last Friday of the month” dinners too. Next month will feature ham and scallop potato supper on Feb. 23 starting 5 p.m. for $12. We are always looking for volunteers to help take on a Friday night supper. Please consider it and your talents and call the office at 519-842-5281. The more volunteers we have the more we can provide and enjoy. Every person involved in our Legion is valued for their service and we encourage other members and non-members to be part of what we represent. 



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