Bonnyville grants 4 Wing Freedom of the City

News Article / May 18, 2017

By Jeff Gaye 

The Town of Bonnyville and the Municipal District of Bonnyville, Alberta, conferred Freedom of the Town and Freedom of the District on 4 Wing Cold Lake in a brief ceremony outside Bonnyville’s town hall on May 5, 2017.

Freedom of the City, a traditional gesture of trust and appreciation, is an honour bestowed by a municipality to demonstrate the trust and strong relationship between the citizens of the municipality and a specific military organization.

Receiving this honour permits the wing to parade through the streets with “colours flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed”. 4 Wing Commander Colonel Paul Doyle accepted the honour on behalf of the wing, and led the parade down Bonnyville’s main thoroughfare. “I think it was fantastic,” said Bonnyville mayor Gene Sobolewski. “I had an incredible amount of pride, and I was humbled by the fact that we were doing this and we were granting this honour to 4 Wing Cold Lake.”

Ed Rondeau, reeve of the Municipal District of Bonnyville, acknowledged that “Freedom of the District” is less common than the usual Freedom of the City honours. Still, he said, it’s based on the same premise. “It shows the respect we have for one another. It’s slightly different but it’s done out of respect.” Many current and former 4 Wing members live in the Municipal District, Reeve Rondeau said.

It was a perfect day for the parade. Bright sunshine and a moderate temperature, with a bit of a breeze, made things comfortable for the military personnel and the many spectators who gathered to witness the ceremony. “We had a fantastic turnout from the Municipal District and the Town of Bonnyville; people showed up,” Colonel Doyle said. “The people cheering and clapping as we marched the parade route really underlines for me that what we do for Canada is really appreciated by people in the Lakeland.”

Wing Chief Warrant Officer Alain Roy praised the work of the personnel on parade, saying, “I was very pleased by what I saw on parade. The troops worked very hard over the last two days, and the results really showed.”

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