One hundred years ago, on July 6, 1921, a new “soldiers’ monument” was unveiled in Morewood.
It was a dignified affair, with a special veterans’ parade and dinner to mark the event. In that seemingly far-off time, special arrangements were made for feeding horses and parking cars.
A century later, the efforts of volunteers in the community have resulted in new funding being acquired to renovate the cenotaph.
Veterans Affairs Canada has provided a grant of up to $25,000 through its Commemorative Partnership Program. This sum will be added to the funds already raised through the volunteer initiative, and it is hoped that a formal rededication ceremony will be held on Friday, September 10, assuming further COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted to allow the local community to attend and participate in the service.
The volunteer committee has been working on the project for over 18 months. The Township of North Dundas supported the restoration with a significant donation to kick-off the fundraising campaign, and fundraising events and initiatives have helped to meet their goal.
An online Go Fund Me donation page raised $2,000, an online auction brought in another $2,000, and a take-out ham dinner by Christ Church United at the Chesterville Legion also managed to bring in $2,000.
The total cost of the renovations is expected to be around $63,000 and will involve cleaning, examining and ensuring the structural integrity of the monument and repairing the damaged First World War plaque.
A new plaque will be added to include the name of one soldier from Morewood whose name had not been inscribed on the cenotaph, and granite pillars will be added along the outside of the walkway around the cenotaph with images of the soldiers etched on top. Another granite pillar will be added in recognition of those who returned from conflict zones and who would later pass as a result of their service.
The new pillar will bear the inscription, “In memory of those who returned who would later succumb to physical or mental diseases or wounds – We Will Remember Them.”
Morewood Cenotaph Committee Chair, Bill Smirle, praised not only Veterans Affairs for its contribution, but also the wider community for its role in making the work possible.
“I am so pleased that Veterans Affairs Canada has supported this project to celebrate one hundred years for our well-recognized cenotaph in the centre of town, but it is also great to report that our community has shown its responsibility and gratitude once again by getting involved quickly with very generous donations that completed our fundraising in record time.”
In announcing the grant from Veterans Affairs, Eric Duncan, Member of Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, noted:
“We are very fortunate that the local volunteers have done such a fantastic job raising funds and finding a nice way to both refurbish and enhance the already stunning cenotaph in Morewood. The Commemorative Partnership Program has been a long-standing program at Veterans Affairs Canada and it is great to see federal support coming to this worthwhile milestone project.”
Another project that has been undertaken by the Morewood Recreation Association recently will also add to the improvements around the area of the cenotaph. Veterans View Park has a new sign and arbour entrance, thanks to the voluntary work of the Association, in particular, Martin Reichert. Shane Signs and E.C Carruthers & Sons Utility Construction also donated to the work.
Earlier this year, the Association worked with the Township of North Dundas and K2D2 Landscaping to relay the stonework pathways at the Park.
Morewood is a happening place!