May events honouring Afghan returnees and other veterans
WATERLOO - Major public celebrations to honour veterans and welcome returned soldiers from Afghanistan will take place in Kitchener during the May 28-29 weekend.
Included is a Hero’s Welcome Home Gala dinner at Bingeman Park Saturday evening and a rousing musical tribute Sunday afternoon at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium complex.
Afghanistan veterans and their family members will be the special guests at Saturday’s 900-seat dinner. Styled after a formal Highland military mess dinner it will feature haggis, pipes and drums with dance music provided by Canadian Forces musicians.
Sunday’s musical tribute will honour all veterans from Waterloo Region who have served in Canada’s Regular or Reserve armed forces during and since the Second World War. The two-hour show, akin to a military tattoo, will include entertainment by the Canadian Forces’ Central Band from Ottawa, the Air Command Band from Winnipeg, the Waterloo Regional Police Band and the spectacle of massed pipes and drums collected from across Southwestern Ontario.
A highlight of the Musical Tribute will be the official unveiling of the Kin Canada ‘Portraits of Honour’ exhibit. The 10’x50’ hand painted mural by Cambridge artist David Sopha includes a portrait of every Canadian soldier who died as a result of his or her service in Afghanistan. In early June the mural is scheduled to begin a cross Canada tour including visits to the hometown of each of the 155 fallen soldiers.
Community volunteers and members of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada Regimental Trust are organizing the events.
Anyone interested in purchasing tickets or obtaining regularly updated online information about the two events can go to www.celebratemehome.ca.