Kitimat Legion Branch relaxes cap rule

John Crawford

The Kitimat Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion has decided the time has come to break with a decades-old tradition.

At a recent meeting, Branch 250 voted to rescind the restriction on wearing hats inside the legion lounge.

Branch chairman Dwight Magee says this is a pretty major change for the branch, but he says it's hoped it will make it more welcoming for younger people.


Magee says the practice of removing hats actually began as an extention of a military tradition related to mess-hall rules, when soldiers would remove their hats so that they didn't have to salute a senior officer while eating.   

 "There was this misconception out there that removing your hat was showing a sign of respect for fallen comrades, but that was never correct;  the real reason was related to mess-hall rules and the fact that relieving the need to salute a senior officer in a mess hall -- and legions over time are changing as well because as times change, expectations change, values change and we need to attract younger crowd into the branch as well, and a lot of the younger people typically wear their hats, a lot of sports teams wear their hats and they typically go to where they can wear their hats, and so the legion felt that it was time to change what was regarded as somewhat of a stodgy old rule and change with the times," he explained

Magee says several other branches across the country -- such as Houston and Burns Lake -- have already adopted the change.

The Kitimat branch also voted this week to donate four thousand dollars from its Poppy Fund to the Veterans Transition Network, which helps soldiers transition back into civilian life once their service has been completed.

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