Original Published on Aug 11, 2022 at 10:48

By Chadd Cawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

It’s at ease for members of the Cranbrook Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24 regarding the long-standing rule that visitors must remove head wear It was recently announced they now will allow their visitors to don hats in their building in hopes to broaden their clientele. A ruling was made from Dominion Command in 2018 which allowed each Legion branch to make their own policy regarding where they stand on the removal of hats a long-standing sign to show respect and equality amongst everyone.

“It’s really only our own members and guests who are willing to follow that particular rule,” said Colleen Shaw, Cranbrook Royal Canadian Legion president in a statement last week. “I’m really hoping that we can not only bring more people in, but younger people. We must get the younger crowd and bring them on board. On the week leading up the Remembrance Day, we’re going to say please doff your hats and take them off. Otherwise, they can stay on.”

Windermere District Branch 71 which is located on the unceded territories of the Secwépemc and Ktunaxa People and the land chosen as home by the Métis Peoples has decided to stay true to tradition.  Of course, there are exceptions to every rule being made for medical reasons, when events are held when costumes are worn, and for sun protection on their patio.

“We voted at an annual general meeting to keep the regulation that states hats will be removed by everyone when they enter the branch,” said Ken Carlow, Branch Financial Officer. “There’s been no call from the membership to make any change so the status quo will remain.”

Shaw of the Royal Canadian Legion in Cranbrook believes being more flexible on this policy will attract more young people that want to know the rich history of our legion and its veterans.

“If the Legion is not around, there’s not going to be anybody to educate about the wars, what happened as a result of war or military conflict,” said Shaw in a recent statement. “We need more young people, and we need to support our past to make our future better.”

While some legions look towards the future, others stay with what has always worked for them in the past.

“Historically it is a matter of etiquette that we choose to continue to observe,” said Carlow.

This item reprinted with permission from The Columbia Valley Pioneer, Invermere, British Columbia