Lockerby Legion unveils new cenotaph in Sudbury south-end
It was an emotional moment at Sudbury's Lockerby Legion, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 564 Saturday, as members of the community gathered to unveil the new cenotaph.
According to members of the branch, the existing monument had begun to look old and was in need of a facelift.
"These stones, they're engraved now," said legion member Eddie Thompson.
"If a veteran dies, they forget about him after. He's now going to be here on this wall. The members of this branch are here on the wall."
It was Thompson who had the idea and got the ball rolling.
He started to price out material and approached a friend, Sudbury Wolves owner Dario Zulich for help.
"Remembering our veterans is so important," said Zulich. "I've always had a soft spot for that because I can't imagine anyone giving their lives for our country and they have to be remembered. So anytime the legion calls on me, I'm going to help out the best I can."
Thompson is part of a legacy. His father was one of the founding members of the legion. His daughter, Jennifer Huard, his now branch president.
"Everything went wonderfully today, I couldn't be more pleased," said Huard. "With everyone that we had in attendance, the weather cooperated, it was just fabulous."
The cenotaph is now further back on the legion's front yard. It was two walls of honour on either side and an engraved pathway of names of donors and people who helped make it possible.
There was a firearm salute, bagpipes, and bugle. There were also several speeches from some of the dignitaries in attendance.
"This is such a beautiful, beautiful ceremony for such a beautiful grounds. The cenotaph is completely redone. The name of the 230 veterans that are from this legion that have died for us is written on a stone in the ground as well as on the walls. It is just really, really moving to see," said Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas.
"You look at it and you know a ton of work has gone in to get to this wonderful place. It's volunteers, it's work from the community, it's our community coming together to show how good we can make things."
Nickel Belt Liberal MP candidate Marc Serre and Ward 9 city councillor Deb McIntosh were also in attendance.
Laurette Bechard and her children were at the ceremony and had a stone engraved in honour of her husband Jean William Bechard, who passed away last year.
"It's great honour to have his name up there and I know that he'll never be forgotten, we'll always remember him," said Laurette.
"It's fantastic - we're all feeling the same emotions. It's great that we have all of our families and everything represented," said daughter Theresa Bechard.
Work isn't finished yet. They plan on putting a clear coat over the names on the ground in advance of the Remembrance Day services.
The hope is, as some monuments are marking their 100th anniversaries around the region, this will be around for the next one hundred years, creating a legacy of the heroes who fought and died for our freedom.