Honouring Calgary's returning soldiers
Downtown Calgary came to a halt Saturday afternoon so people could honour the men and women from our city who've served in Afghanistan.
About 250 military reservists paraded from Mewata Armory to City Hall.
The soldiers say it was an awesome sight seeing Calgarians come out to support them.
The Calgary soldiers marched to the sound of bag pipes through the downtown core. Mike Alcock marched right along with them.
"I think too many people place the importance on the politics of it and forget the fact that sons and daughters, that's what counts period."
Among the 500 people who waited at City Hall for the military reservists was Bonnie Dittmann.
"I thought it was the least I could do after what they did for us in Afghanistan. Just to come down and show that I thought that was a great effort."
Dittmann brought her 13-year-old daughter Jacklyn to show support.
"I think it's important because our troops are out there fighting for democracy just like the troops before them fought for our democracy, because if we don't help each other, the world can't function, and people in Afghanistan and around the world need help because some people don't believe in democracy and they just want to take over with no authority."
Former RCAF member, Robert Roe was overwhelmed with the number of people who turned out
"I'm ecstatic. It's about time Canadian citizens had a basic recognition and understanding of who and what we are and what our ancestors have done in the past."
Darlene Ulmer agrees.
"This is amazing. It's great. I think they should do more for the soldiers, even though there's no base in Calgary anymore. We've been here since '79. We were here with the base. I just think anything they can do to support them, cause they're out there putting their life on the line for another country."
Many showed their support by holding flags and homemade signs telling the soldiers that people in this city recognize their sacrifice and commitment.
Corporal Duncan Campbell just returned home on October 8th from Afghanistan.
"It's such an amazing feeling. The city of Calgary is so welcoming and open to the military and they support us so much, that it's so awesome."
After the ceremony the soldiers made their way back to Mewata to a standing ovation. About 20 per cent of Canada's military force in Afghanistan is made up of reservists, and the next group of about 150 Calgary soldiers will leave for Afghanistan in August of 2009.