A community remembers
The flag party is shown with the newly redesigned Winchester War Memorial, which acknowledges the service of Canadian Armed Forces in recent and historical armed conflicts, shortly after its unveiling. Thompson Goddard photo
WINCHESTER – Over 100 people gathered near the Winchester District Memorial Hospital for the rededication of the Winchester War Memorial in its new location at the entrance to WDMH. Royal Canadian Legion Branch 108 Winchester undertook the project that acknowledges the previous and continued service of Canadian Armed Forces’ members to their country.
Residents were joined at the ceremony by past and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, including three Second World War veterans and members of the local Royal Canadian Legion branches, demonstrating their support for those who have served and sacrificed to safeguard the freedoms enjoyed in this country.
The moving ceremony included vocal performances by members of the Harmony Church Choir, a reading by two Air Cadets of a literary piece about war and peace, a poem created and recited by Winchester Public School student Emma Bell with Padre Bruce Kemp providing a heartfelt prayer of dedication.
A service of remembrance, laying of wreaths and short addresses by dignitaries concluded the emotion filled ceremony. Following the rededication, a reception was held that included the opportunity to visit and reminisce with friends and neighbours, view displays located inside the Winchester Legion’s tent and enjoy a barbecue lunch. Inside Winchester Public School, Winchester Legion member Cindy MacIsaac provided members of the public with a piece of a commemorative cake that featured an edible photo of the newly rededicated war memorial; and atop the cake’s slab portion, another cake styled in the form of empty military boots symbolizing those who were killed.
Local residents may recall how WDMH is itself a memorial to the military fallen in the First and Second World Wars, with plaques to their memory located near the entrance doors of the original building. Cholly Boland, CEO of WDMH, commented to The Record during the event, how “75 years ago the community felt it was important enough to put the word memorial in the hospital’s name” and how the hospital was honoured to be the custodian of the memorial itself.
North Dundas deputy mayor Al Armstrong commented that he was “honoured, privileged and humbled to have such dedicated veterans and community members,” who have worked to ensure that the memories of those who have served their country is always remembered.
Perhaps Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry Member of Parliament Guy Lauzon summed up the feelings of those present by saying how honoured he felt to be amongst veterans who have “safeguarded our democracy” by their service and how a simple thank you to them was insufficient.
Carolyn Thompson Goddard, grew up in Chesterville and attended North Dundas District High School. After completing her BA in Political Science at Carleton University she has worked as a medical secretary and library technician. In 2020 she graduated from Algonquin College with a diploma in Journalism and has been a reporter and column writer for The Chesterville Record for over 10 years.