Hon­our­ing vet­er­ans

The Gananoque Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - TIM RUHNKE

This in­scrip­tion on a stone at the Lans­downe me­mo­rial ap­peared on a ban­ner that greeted Cana­dian vet­er­ans when they re­turned to The Nether­lands in 2005 to mark the 60th an­niver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of that coun­try.

LANS­DOWNE— They gath­ered to honour those who served and are serving their coun­try.

A ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony took place at the Lans­downe Com­mu­nity Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial on Sat­ur­day morn­ing. About 200 peo­ple were on hand at the me­mo­rial, which is lo­cated in front of Thou­sand Is­lands Ele­men­tary School.

The gar­den venue com­mem­o­rates the 30 war dead from the area as well as more than 240 lo­cal­men and women who served Canada in times of con­flict. The ded­i­ca­tion marked the up­com­ing 100th an­niver­sary of the end of the FirstWorld War onNov. 11.

The cer­e­mony was held un­der the aus­pices of the Leeds and Thou­sand Is­land­sHis­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety. The lo­calmemo­rial ef­fort dates back to 2006. Janet Gay­lord, chair­woman of the vet­er­ans me­mo­rial com­mit­tee, noted the im­por­tance of en­sur­ing “that we don’t for­get the cost of free­dom.”

The cer­e­mony in­cluded the un­veil­ing of gran­ite stones on which the names of the lo­cal men who made the supreme sac­ri­fice and lost their lives while serving their coun­try in the FirstWorld War, Se­condWorldWar or Afghanistan ap­pear.

Fam­ily mem­bers and friends of the fallen ser­vice­men gath­ered for the un­veil­ing. One of the stones in­cludes the in­scrip­tion: “Dy­ing is not the worst thing that can hap­pen. Be­ing for­got­ten is.”

Gay­lord re­ferred to Lans­downe as a typ­i­cal Cana­dian small town from which many peo­ple con­trib­uted to war and peace­keep­ing ef­forts. They were or­di­nary men and women who served in ex­traor­di­nary times, she said.

The guest speaker at the cer­e­mony was Maj.-Gen. Steve Whe­lan, who re­turned from de­ploy­ment in Iraq re­cently and has been ap­pointed chief of staff— strat­egy for mil­i­tary per­son­nel com­mand.

“You’re a town with guts, for sure,” Whe­lan re­marked.

Serving one’s coun­try is “… a sa­cred duty and obli­ga­tion I hold dear,” he stated, adding that com­mu­nity pro­jects such as the Lans­downe me­mo­rial make Whe­lan proud to be Cana­dian and why he wants to serve.

Sil­ver Cross Mother Nancee Payne placed a wreath at the mon­u­ment dur­ing the cer­e­mony; her son Randy was killed in ac­tion in Afghanistan in 2006.

Glen­nda Olivier, pres­i­dent of the his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety, read the ad­dress by Gover­nor Gen­eral Julie Payette. She in­di­cated that she has “in­fi­nite re­spect” for those who serve. The ad­dress also stated the im­por­tance of re­mem­ber­ing their courage as well as work­ing to­gether to­ward a more peace­ful world.

Also speak­ing at the ded­i­ca­tion was Leeds-Grenville–Thou­sands Is­lands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark. The com­mem­o­ra­tion pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate their courage and ex­press grat­i­tude for their ser­vice, ac­cord­ing to the MPP.

Clark also quoted the speech he de­liv­ered ear­lier this month when the On­tario leg­is­la­ture unan­i­mously passed a mo­tion to es­tab­lish a mon­u­ment atQueen’s Park to honour the Cana­dian forces mem­bers who fought in Afghanistan. “Pol­i­tics should not be a fac­tor,” the MPP­told the Lans­downe gath­er­ing. Clark stated that leg­is­la­tors could all agree on one thing: They owe their abil­ity to rise in the leg­is­la­ture to the self­less sac­ri­fices of the brave men and women of the forces.

Gay­lord de­scribed the lo­cal me­mo­rial as a per­ma­nent sanc­tu­ary of so­lace. She en­cour­aged the pub­lic to visit the me­mo­rial and in the com­ing days to read the names of the fallen ser­vice­men listed in the cer­e­mony pro­gram.

Red and white tulips are planted in the gar­den.

TIM RUHNKE/ FOR POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Maj.-Gen. SteveWhe­lan ad­dresses the crowd at the Lans­downe Com­mu­nity Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony on Sat­ur­day morn­ing.

Janet Gay­lord, chair­woman of the vet­er­ans me­mo­rial com­mit­tee, speaks at the ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony.

PHOTOS BY TIM RUHNKE/ FOR POST­MEDIA NET­WORK This in­scrip­tion on a stone at the Lans­downe me­mo­rial ap­peared on a ban­ner that greeted Cana­dian vet­er­ans when they re­turned to The Nether­lands in 2005 to mark the 60th an­niver­sary of the lib­er­a­tion of that coun­try.

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