As Remembrance Day comes closer, many groups in the community will come together to pay tribute to the soldiers that helped defend Canada and laid the foundation for the city that Dawson Creek is today.
"It's vitally important because people have to remember what happened in the past or it'll happen in the future," said said Day Roberts, the spokesperson for the Dawson Creek Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, which is a social club for veterans.
He said that over 110,000 Canadians have given their lives and that these remembrances help give them meaning.
During World War II, the U.S. and Canadian governments worked together to build the Alaska Highway. Starting at Dawson Creek, the highway was meant to provide a means of support to American troops stationed in Alaska in case the state was attacked.
In Aug. of 1944, the No. 10 Construction and Maintenance Unit of the Royal Canadian Force was stationed east of 8th street, said Roberts. Its purpose was to provide equipment and support to the airports along the Northwest Staging Route, and there were 400 to 500 RCAF members stationed here at the time. Roberts explained that certain members were on the way to Edmonton via railway on the day that the victory over Japan was announced.
"[The soldiers] were told the good news of the surrender by the train conductor," he wrote in an earlier article for the Dawson Creek Daily News. "Unfortunately they didn't have any drinks available to celebrate the happy occasion."
And while the Air Force station left after 1946, some chose to stay.
“Quite a few of [the soldiers] made their home here,” said Roberts.
The Station ran until 1946, but a small number of citizens remained in Dawson Creek. Some of the Air Force buildings now make up the Northern Lights College.
Veterans of the war have also chosen to make Dawson Creek their home.
Buddy Melin, who was part of the invasion of Juno Beach into Nazi-controlled France in 1944, said that even now he had trouble difficulty talking about his experiences overseas, seventy years later.
"The real war experiences, you won't want to talk about it," he said.
He said that one way people could support veterans like himself was to support the Royal Canadian Legion, whose Branch #141 is stationed here in Dawson Creek.
The Dawson Creek Legion was formed by World War I veterans, said Roberts, and their first building was stationed at 10th St. and 102nd Ave. After two more location switches, the Legion moved into a new building located at 9th St. and 102 Ave. in 1965. A Legion Charter member, Wes Harper, cut the ribbon on the building with a WWI bayonet.
Over the following 41 years, the Legion hosted a number of social events, including New Year’s Eve dances, Oktoberfests, and other community events.
In 1982, the 50th anniversary of the Legion, the group had approximately 500 members.
Roberts said that the Legion decided to switch buildings in the late 1990s because the old building had too many stairs for its members to easily get around. Roberts said that Branch #141, like many other Legions, face an aging and declining membership.
Now, only 200 members are around for the Legion.
The Legion also had a Ladies Auxiliary, but an aging and declining membership forced it to surrender its charter on 2006, after 61 years of service.