Temporary exhibit at Lethbridge Military Museum highlights post-war social changes

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New temporary exhibit unveiled at Lethbridge Military Museum
WATCH ABOVE: A travelling display has made its way to Lethbridge, looking to showcase the history of social changes in Canada following the First World War and Second World War. Eloise Therien has more. – Oct 4, 2021

The Lethbridge Military Museum is now home to a travelling exhibit provided by the Canadian Centre for the Great War in Montreal.

“A Better World: Post-War Social Movements and the Canadian Veteran” dives into changes in Canadian society following the First and Second World Wars, and how veterans had to adapt.

It speaks to labour movements, discrimination and more.

Belinda Crowson, president of the Lethbridge Historical Society, cut the ribbon for the exhibit on Monday and spoke briefly of a local veteran named George Palmer.

She said soldiers not only faced problems at war, but also when returning home.

“It is unbelievable when we look back 100 years ago, how many things they were dealing with,” Crowson said. “From prohibition, from changing voting rights for women, from droughts and recessions, from labour issues and all sorts of things.

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“When returning veterans came, they had to find a way to deal with those issues, and to make the world better at the same time.”

Honorary Lt. Col. Rick Casson, the Lethbridge Military Unit Senate Association president, said the influx of soldiers back to Canada made for a learning curve.

“When you have the numbers that came back after the First World War — hundreds of thousands — in my mind, many of them were lost,” Casson said. “They didn’t fit into society. It wasn’t the place that they left.”

Casson said veteran supports had to be created and are still evolving to this day.

“You’re asked to lay your life down for your country, and they do and they will,” he said. “Some of the things they’re asked to do to other human beings is not normal. When you come back, there needs to be some cushion there to help them transition, and that all started after the First World War.”

“It’s displays like this that remind us that a soldier’s duty is never done, even after we’ve finished serving in the military,” said Maj. Robert Mein, the commanding officer with the 20th Independent Battery.

“Soldiers, when they came back, they had their individual units, and their post-unit associations were often formed to try to protect and take care of each other,” Mein explained. “Then the other attribute was the formation of the legion, which was a big step after the wars to actually get a national organization together.”

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The Lethbridge Military Museum is open 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, with some opportunities for private bookings. This new display will be running from now through Remembrance Day.

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