By Bosko Ivkovic
While many of our Chetniks and the people who they protected and saved during WWII have passed on, their memory will always live on through their ancestors and all Serbs who identify with God, King, and Country. The Movement of Serbian Chetniks Ravna Gora in Calgary, Alberta, Canada has been planning to build a Chetnik clubhouse since they formed in March of 2003. Their membership is only 25 people, but they have been able to organize themselves as a heritage society in the province of Alberta. The group has been very active in promoting Serbian history and culture through guest speakers from Serbia and North America, history movie nights, and other events such as the WWI Anniversary Commemoration. The highlight, of course, was the unveiling and consecration of a memorial plaque on September 29, 2012, in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in the Canadian Rockies where there is a mountain peak named after Field Marshal Radomir Putnik. Mount Putnik was named in 1918 in appreciation of the sacrifices of Vojvoda Radomir Putnik and the Serbian army who, in the Battle of Cer, inflicted the first defeat on Central Powers in WWI.
The Chetniks in Calgary have been working with their local parish, St. Simeon Serbian Orthodox Church, for the past few years to attain a development and building permit from the Municipal District of Foothills. The development permit was granted in November of 2018, and the building permit was granted this past June. The building was designed by Zoran Ivanovic, a local Serbian architect, to reflect the old traditional Serbian buildings seen in the old country, and will be approximately 4000 square feet on two levels. The plans for the second floor include a Serbian library which will house several thousand books, including rare books which are being donated by members. There will also be a presentation/meeting room, office, kitchenette, and outdoor veranda. The Calgary Chetniks plan to use the clubhouse for meetings, presentations, and plain old Chetnik camaraderie. They also hope to attract the younger generation who will one day continue to lead by the Chetnik example of our forefathers.
Last month, the Calgary Chetniks have broken ground and laid the foundation for the new clubhouse on the south side of the 16-acre church property on the outskirts of the city. Father Vukic Atanaskovic from Edmonton, Alberta blessed the clubhouse site after Parastos was held for General Draza Mihailovich and his Chetnik soldiers on July 14, 2019. The Chetnik clubhouse is planned to be completed by November of next year. The Calgary Chetniks plan to have a special opening gala upon completion and hope that Chetniks from North America, Australia, and Europe will visit. For those not familiar with Calgary, this is a city located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Western Canada, and hosts the annual 10-day Calgary Stampede, which is the largest rodeo in the world and better known as “The Greatest Show on Earth”. Ravna Gora Pobediti Mora….and that’s why the Calgary Chetniks are making a name for themselves in the West.