180 military personnel march through downtown Bonnyville.
On Friday, 4-Wing Cold Lake was granted the highest honour a municipality can bestow on a military unit, the Freedom of the City. Both the Town and the Municipal District of Bonnyville offered Freedom of the City in a special military parade. 4-Wing Cold Lake Colonel Paul Doyle, MSM, CD, thanked the Town and MD for, “this incredible honour.”
“I’m proud to be excepting two Freedom of the City proclamations, on behalf of 4-Wing Cold Lake,” Colonel Doyle said at Friday’s ceremony that there has always been a good relationship between the military and its neighbouring communities in the Lakeland. “We’ve always valued our relationships with our neighbours. The Town and the MD have always been very welcoming of 4-Wing personnel. Our relationship is very dear to us.”
“The honour is all ours,” proclaimed Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, who thanked the soliders for the “service and dedication, each and every one of you and your predecessors have had.” The mayor recalled a trip to Europe he recently took to honour the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. “A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to be in France. We toured some of the old battle sites and from my heart to yours, I sincerely appreciate all the efforts, service and dedication that the military has bestowed upon Canada over the last 100 years.”
Reeve Ed Rondeau mirrored Sobolewski’s remarks, “on behalf of the MD of Bonnyville, Council, staff and all its residents I am honoured to be able to bestow upon 4-Wing the Freedom of the District.” Rondeau says that the military base and the MD have been long neighbours and partners in the region and thanked the base for all its contributions to the region.
The Freedom of the City is the highest honour a military can be granted from a municipality. It is an ancient honor granted to martial organisations, allowing them the privilege to march into the city “with drums beating, colours flying, and bayonets fixed.