Steve Norton is organizing a traditional mess dinner for all veterans in the Agassiz and Harrison communities on the anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Agassiz Legion to host annual dinner for local veterans

The mess dinner is meant to bring community, support and remembrance to servicemen and women

On May 9, the Agassiz Legion wants to give local servicemen and women a chance to revive a military custom: the mess dinner.

“I don’t think anybody’s gone through a career (in the military) and not had at least one mess dinner,” said Steve Norton, Legion service officer and Navy veteran.

The mess dinner is a formal meal, with everyone attending in full uniform and the mess president’s gavel taking the position of authority. But it’s also a meal full of jokes and sly pranks within the formal atmosphere.

“Everyone attempts to steal the gavel, in which case they can take authority,” Norton said. “It may on the surface look like a very formal, stuffy affair. Down deep it’s really a lot of fun if you do it right, and people have the right attitudes.”

“It hasn’t done it as formal as the military does it,” he added. “But it’s enough to give people a recollection of what they used to do and the fun they used to have.”

This year’s dinner won’t be the first time the Legion has hosted a mess dinner for veterans in Agassiz, Harrison and the surrounding communities. It’s an annual event, usually taking place on a military anniversary.

“The three we’ve done lately is the Battle of Britain, Sept. 15. A couple of years ago we did Vimy Ridge. D-Day last year,” Norton said. “And now we’re going to do the Battle of the Atlantic, which is the longest campaign of the (Second World) War.”

Although the dinner is a chance to commemorate historic events like the Battle of the Atlantic, it’s also a chance for veterans to get together and support one another.

RELATED: Agassiz Veterans Dinner more than just a meal

“It’s not that we all served together in the same units or anything, but we’ve got a common bond,” Norton said.

“That’s one of the reasons the Legion was really important,” he added. “It was started after the First World War … to give servicemen that had that sense of loss, after leaving, somewhere to go to put things back together.

“It wasn’t the idea that a bunch of guys would get together, play darts and drink beer. That kind of grew on the side. In the long run it was a support network for each other.”

By getting veterans out to the annual dinner, Norton said, they can connect with others who went through similar experiences and learn more about services available to them.

Last year, the dinner saw around 80 veterans sit down for the meal in the Legion, with people who had served in wars from the Second World War to Afghanistan.

The Battle of the Atlantic dinner is free for all veterans in the area, regardless of Legion membership. Cocktails start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, with a buffet dinner at 7 p.m.

Anyone interested in attending should contact the Legion (604-796-2332) or Norton (604-491-4914). All RSVPs must be made no later than April 28.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Agassiz Community Health Centre welcomes its newest doctor

Nikki Cohen is one of three doctors practicing at the local health clinic

No home for Agassiz Community Garden on school district land

The garden is still homeless after SD78 said no to the society using the McCaffrey School property

Chilliwack school board making effort to foster better relationships

Board reaching out to parents via dinner event, and online forum

PHOTO: Pollination time

Hyacinths attract bees looking for pollen

Sardis Library hosting Star Wars-themed escape room

Participants asked to summon the force for week-long attraction

VIDEO: Agassiz, Harrison celebrate National Pet Day

From cats and dogs to lizards and chickens, residents showed off the animals that enrich their lives

Anti-SOGI activist slams ban on B.C. dad speaking out about transgender son’s case

A judge has told the father to stop publicly objecting to his son’s gender

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Victims injured in Lower Mainland deck collapse ranged from 15 to 83 years old

Victim Services staff have reached out to those hurt and their families

‘Ghost restaurants’ cooked up by Joseph Richard Group to meet demand of delivered food

The new Meal Ticket Brands venture aims to ‘disrupt’ the local restaurant industry

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Torched SUV linked to Vancouver’s fourth homicide

Manoj Kumar, 30, was found dead from gunshot wounds in the Kitsilano neighbourhood

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Most Read