Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Sunday, November 5th, 2006 - What a Glorious Day!

The weather was nice, a little chilly however the warmth from the people congregating this day superceded any notions of the chill.

A community came together this day - a day veterans would be honouored as a Canadian Veterans' Memorial was unveiled at Waterloo Veteran's Green Park.

The buses arrived... and the day began as a parade formed at the King and Central Sts in Waterloo. A parade of veterans, regular and reserve force military personnel, cadets, politicians, band members and Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan marched north from King and Central streets at 12:30 p.m. to the Veterans Green Memorial Park on University Avenue. Military vehicles drove along King Street as the sound of bagpipes, drums, applause and cheers echoed in the air.

31 Combat Engineer Regiment Waterloo
(Many of their comrades are serving overseas at this time.)

Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan
bringing with them a banner to be signed by all.
It will be sent to the troops overseas, our future veterans.
We honour our veterans and families
- past, present and future.

Preceding the ceremony, honourable tributes included
fly-pasts from historical military warplanes.

It was moving as officers of the Waterloo Regional Police Services saluted us as we proceeded along the parade route.

Veterans braved the cold, saluting as we passed.

Four Harvard planes dating back to the Second World War soared over University Avenue as the procession made its way to Veterans' Green.

Good Friends

"People should always remember that countries achieve their highest when they remember those who sacrificed their lives for peace," said George Sim, a chaplain who had served in Europe during World War II.

Cpl. Ryan Pagnacco of Waterloo, who was wounded in Afghanistan in a friendly-fire incident, took part yesterday in the ceremonies at Veterans' Green in Waterloo. It was an emotional day, a tear seen trickling down his cheek as he piped the Last Post Lament preceeding the moment of silence.
"Thank you Piper. What an honour, to hear you, see you and speak with you. I have conveyed your message to my son."

An eloquent speaker, Renee Murray-White, whose son James White is serving in Afghanistan, told the crowd it was her son's 20th birthday that day. She thanked the veterans for their service and said they are beams from the past that shine on the future. "You defined a nation and guaranteed our freedom," she said.

Mr. Mac Voisin, Honourary Chairman of the Canadian Veterans Memorial spoke to the crowd.

Many guests included His Honour James K. Bartleman-Lt. Governor of Ontario, Kathryn Shawcross-Damman, MP Andrew Telegdi, Region of Waterloo Chair Ken Seiling, Mayor Herb Epp, Dr. Gary Steinhoff, Veteran Mr. Leighton Steinhoff, Artist TimothyP. Schmalz and Honourary Chairman Mac Voisin.

Here a veteran is seen writing well wishes to the soldiers serving in Afghanistan - the soldiers, our future veterans. The 32 foot banner brought by Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan, provided many grateful veterans, reservists, cadets, veterans, delegates, parents and children a chance to convey their wishes our sons and daughters overseas.

Deemed as Canada's First Multi-Dimensional Tribute to Veterans, a breathtaking, first-of-its-kind memorial honouring Canadian veterans from every war in which Canada has fought, was unveiled. This spectacular work-of-art, named The Canadian Veterans' Memorial, is carved in a timeline formation. The sculpture is 15 feet high and 23 feet long and depicts the likeness of more than 200 men and women who served in battles, from the War of 1812 to the war in Afghanistan.

Timothy Schmalz, who created the three-tonne statue in Thailand over the past year, told the crowd he looked at hundreds of photos of soldiers during the process. "I saw fear, I saw absolute courage, I saw happiness and I saw pain. And I wanted to put that all in one sculpture," he said.
"By using hundreds of black and white photos of men and women that served in the wars, I created a collage of not only uniforms, but human emotion on this bronze statue," says Schmalz. "In the sculpture, more than two hundred figures descend from a heavenly perspective to present an aged veteran who, in turn, presents a poppy, the symbol of remembrance. In the statue, as in real life, the veteran acts as a link to our history."
Once again, I say "Thank you Timothy, for creating such a spectacular, eternal creation for all to memorialize our veterans. And yes as promised, I'll bring my son, to show him your work and reflect on our conversation... as soon as he's home."

The Canadian Veterans' Memorial can be seen at:
Veterans' Green Park,
50 University Avenue West, Waterloo.
(at University and Hazel Sts.)


Holly Pagnacco said...

Thank you for sharing these photos :-)

Military Mom said...

Thank you Holly. I'll try my best to keep everything updated.. to do justice to serve as a memory for others to see.
Thank you for taking a look at my blog. I've emailed copies of the photos to Ryan :) All the best! Take care!

Renee Murray said...

I should have said thanks so much earlier than this ... (I didnt know I could leave comments - so sorry)
It means so much to leave these lasting memorials to Veterans.
Thanks again!