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By Sam Odrowski
After five years of planning, a new 10 ft. wide monument honouring fallen veterans has been installed at Greenwood Cemetery by the Orangeville Royal Canadian Legion Br. 233.
A dedication service ceremony and parade are being held Sept. 25, with all 39 Legion branches from District E invited to participate, which covers from Alton to Huntsville.
Plans for the monument began in 2017 and it's great to see it come to fruition, said Chris Skalozub, past president and monuments chair at the local Legion.
"This is just something from my heart,” he said. “It's been in the making for a long time, and I'm just so happy that it's in the ground. It looks fantastic.”
As a veteran himself, having served in the Royal Canadian Airforce, Saklozub said it's important to honour those that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“There should be something to dignify them, and this is the only way it should be done,” he remarked. “It is because of these people who gave their lives that you have the opportunity to live the way you are, period.”
Saklozub said as a Legion member and veteran, it's their job to make sure people remember those that fought and a monument is the best way of doing that,
“This is the only way that I know that works because it's a physical thing that sits right in your face,” he noted.
Saklozub's design for the monument was brought to Tompkins and Heels Monuments in Barrie, who constructed it. They also constructed the Forest Lawn Cemetery monument.
That monument has a cairn design, which comes Scotland and the U.K. The way it works is when a solider goes to battle they drop a stone on a pile. If the soldier dies in combat, the stone pile is put together to build a cairn, honouring the fallen.
The other monument Saklozub designed is at the Legion and made of stone. It features glass panels representing each branch of Canada's military.
The new monument at Greenwood Cemetery, which cost about $42,000, has a large maple leaf in the middle that reads, “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”
Also wrapped around the maple leaf is text from the Act of Remembrance, which reads “We Will Remember Them.” This phrase is repeated when the Legion does their ceremony at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11thmonth (November).
The Royal Canadian Legion and Ladies Auxiliary symbols as well as the Town of Orangeville's original and new crest are featured on the monument too.
At the base of the monument is rows of poppies where it says WWI 1914-1918, WWII 1939-1945, Korean 1950-1953 and Afghanistan 2001-2014, which are wars Canada was represented in.
“The monument is the shape of a helmet but in that helmet, you have a country which is Canada, with a maple leaf. And then you have the sunrays in the back, and a hand releasing a dove, which represents the soul of the individual who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Saklozub.
The monument at Greenwood Cemetery is registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs Monuments and Cenotaphs, and is a registered marker for veterans.
With Greenwood Cemetery being owned by the Town of Orangeville, Skalozub said “I think it's about time the town has one.”
Skalozub's designing skills date back to his youth when he served in the air cadets. There he designed a crest for his squadron that's still used to this day.
He told the Citizen, he'd like to thank all the donors and people who contributed their time to help the monument come to fruition at Greenwood Cemetery.
A plaque will be placed on the monument for the Sept. 25 dedication service, and it will name all the supporters/donors who contributed.
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