‘There will always be veterans’

Charleswood Legion marks Remembrance Day with hybrid service


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/11/2022 (204 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

One Charleswood Legion member and Royal Canadian Air Force veteran wants people to remember the poppy as a symbol of remembrance — not war.

“It started with the troops and the people that paid the ultimate sacrifice and died,” said Phil Otis, a 37-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force. “They were told that we’d never forget their service. It’s ongoing. It’s happening today. There will always be veterans.”

Born in Saint John, N.B., Otis performed an array of duties in the military, including air traffic control and humanitarian relief. Otis joined the military at just 18 years old.

“I was walking down Prince William Street, saw the recruiting sign, and I joined within a week,” Otis recalls.

He retired from the military in Winnipeg, where he has since served as president of the Charleswood Legion and continues to volunteer as the district commander for a dozen legions.

Otis, a Charleswood resident, is thinking about veterans young and old this Remembrance Day.

“There are people in the field as we speak today — I can’t tell you where they are — but there are people out there, and they are veterans, and it’s through the Legion and the poppy that we do that,” Otis said.

The Charleswood Legion kicked off its poppy campaign the last week of October with a drive-thru sale. Brian Rodgers, acting second vice-president and trustee for the Charleswood Legion, said the sale was met with strong support from the community.

“It’s been very successful so far,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers served with the Royal Canadian Air Force for 39 years, retiring in September 2020. Rodgers was an instrument electrical technician until the trade amalgamation that occurred between 1996 and 1997. From that point on, he was an aviation technician.

The Calgary native joined the Charleswood Legion in 2013, and again in 2017 when he returned from deployment in Yellowknife, N.W.T. He now lives in the Heritage Park neighbourhood of St. James.

Those who would like to purchase a poppy in advance of Remembrance Day can drop by the Legion or one of many area grocery stores or pharmacies.

The Charleswood Legion will host its hybrid Remembrance Day service on Nov. 11 at Oak Park High School. The service will be live-streamed at 10:30 a.m. via the school’s YouTube channel, and on screens at the Legion. The public is welcome to watch the service from the school and branch.

Those who haven’t been to the Legion in a while will notice the M4 Sherman tank on site has been refurbished. In August, the vehicle received a new coat of paint, as well as decals that represent the Fort Garry Horse Reconnaissance unit of Winnipeg for the period of 1946 to 1959.

The project was supported by the Manitoba Government’s Military Memorial Conservation Grant, the National Wall of Remembrance Association’s Community Memorial Programme, and the Charleswood Legion poppy fund.

Built in 1945 in Detroit, Mich., the M4 Sherman tank was bound for delivery to Russia under the Lend-Lease program, a policy that saw the U.S. supply materials to the Soviet Union and Allied Nations. However, the shipment was cancelled the same year the tank was made.

The M4 Sherman tank was the most popular tank of its kind used by the U.S. and Allied Forces during the Second World War. This model can weigh up to 38.5 tons.

For more information about the Charleswood Legion’s Remembrance Day service, and other Legion activities, visit

Katlyn Streilein

Katlyn Streilein
Community Journalist

Katlyn Streilein was a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review.

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