HART – Honoring Allies Remembering Together – 2016
2016 HART Ceremony
By 2nd Lt. TeriLee Hammond, CAP
HART, Honoring Allies and Remembering Together, is held at various locations each year along the border of the United States and Canada. The ceremony recognizes the service of all veterans, including young men and women from Canada who are serving or have served in the U.S. Military. The Alberta ceremony, started six years ago, was a small gathering on the Couettes border but now it’s the largest international HART ceremony in North America. The purpose of the event is to provide an opportunity for members of the Civil Air Patrol and the Royal Cadets of southern Alberta to participate in the solemn ceremony of friendship and solidarity, friendly athletic competition and social networking with an emphasis on positive social relations and camaraderie between the members of two great nations.
25 Cadets and 6 Senior members from Sevier Valley, Phantom, Blackhawk, Thunderbird, Phoenix and Weber Minuteman squadrons left the Utah Wing headquarters in Salt Lake City on Thursday November 17th to start their journey to Canada. After traveling more than 200 miles, the three Utah CAP vans arrived at the American Legion/VFW building in Idaho Falls where they would spend the night. The next morning, 2 cadets from the Idaho Wing joined us before we started our journey further north. The trip to the Hart ceremony can be fun and exhausting all at once. The cadets keep occupied during the long drive by getting to know other cadets in their van, watching movies, listening to music or playing on their phones while the Senior Members took turns driving so that no one got overly tired on the days 500-mile trip to the northern border. The Utah wing made it to the border crossing around 1900 hours and after making it through had to stop a few miles down the road to take a picture in front of the ‘Welcome to Alberta’ sign. Shortly after, the Utah CAP member made it to the Vimy Ridge Armoury in Lethbridge Canada where they joined other Civil Air Patrol members from the Wyoming, Nevada and Montana Wings to spend the night before the ceremony the next morning.
On Saturday November 19th, the cadets woke up early to eat an amazing breakfast, complete with real Canadian Maple Syrup, before dressing in their Blues uniforms for the upcoming ceremony. It would consist of more than 100 Royal Canadian Air Cadets, Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and Royal Army Cadets joined by approximately 75 Civil Air Patrol members to honor the service of veterans from both sides of the border. The ceremony began with the arrival of dignitaries and the Memorial Cross Families. At 1030 local time the Honor Guards representing the U.S. and Canada advanced their flags to the center of the parade ground for the ceremony. The Star-Spangled Banner and O Canada played and speeches were given. Then it was time to present Remembrance Wreaths to the Memorial Cross Families and Families of the Fallen. After, Post and Taps were played before a silence was held in honor of all those who had been killed in the line of duty. It was a touching ceremony that none will forget and there were many attendees that had to dry their eyes.
After the ceremony was complete CAP cadets exchanged patches, pins and coins with their counterparts from across the border before changing out of their uniforms. The rest of the day was spent competing in a Volleyball tournament, a Drill Off competition, getting to know each other and a small presentation that compared the US and Canadian cadet programs, their mission and the opportunities cadets are given on each side of the border. The Thunderbird Cadet Squadron’s Commander, 1st Lt Lisa Vandersteen made her first trip to the HART ceremony this year and said “What a great honor it was to bring cadets together from two countries to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The cadets also really enjoyed trading pins, money and patches with each other and leaning each other’s drill maneuvers.”
The next day the cadets awoke early to pack and say their goodbyes before loading into the vans for the long ride home. Some cadets traveled as far as 900 miles that day to safely arrive home. In the words of Cadet Chief Arturo Morales from Phantom Squadron “The Canadians were a hoot. Full of energy and very welcoming to us. It was an incredible opportunity to learn about their program, their customs and their methods as well as exchanging leadership techniques and swapping stories. I loved the time we spent up there and still talk to the friends I made”.