Hundreds of air cadets celebrate 75 years during Winnipeg ceremony
Cadets began in 1941
In an atmosphere of honour, holding their flags, hundreds of air cadets from across Manitoba walked to City Hall and the Manitoba Legislature to celebrate the organization's 75th anniversary.
The Air Cadet League of Canada began in 1941 to prepare for the Second World War, according to 2nd. Lt. Betty Froese. When the war ended in 1945 a number of squadrons disbanded, but the youth program remained strong across the country.
"We are very strong on Canadian history, teaching," she said. "With the air cadet movement though, it's very much focused on flight, good citizenship, good leadership."
She pointed to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who received his glider pilot licence as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.
Saturday's ceremony, called the Freedom of the City, honours people who have done well by the city like returning soldiers or fire fighters. Froese said the history of the ceremony is linked to when armed units weren't allowed in the city and they had to request special permission.
The around 350 cadets from across the province asked for and received the "Freedom of the City" before marching to King's Street and back to City Hall.
The second event at the legislative building was a Canadian Flags and Banners Ceremony where the cadets honoured the flags of the country.
Froese said there are 24 air cadet squadrons in Manitoba alone.