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The weather was nice, a little chilly however the warmth from the people congregating this day superceded any notions of the chill.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.
fly-pasts from historical military warplanes.
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.
"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."