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West Ferris Legion holds dedication ceremony for new monument

'We need to remember the past. This is a visual reminder of the past and what it cost, so you don’t repeat the same mistakes of the past'

It was with great reverence that members of West Ferris Legion Branch 599 gathered for a memorial dedication ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

Also in attendance were local dignitaries, friends, and family members of the Royal Canadian Legion.

The newly installed monument which sits on the Legion’s property, is intended to honour members of all three forces.

“Its dedication is a reminder of all those from Nipissing Junction who served this country in times of conflict. It is also a visual reminder to all of us, of the supreme sacrifice they paid for the freedoms we enjoy today,” shared Branch 599 President, Laughlin Trowsdale.

“It is fitting this monument is located on the grounds of the (former) Nipissing Junction School grounds, where many of these individuals attended and played as youth before the call to duty came.”

Long-time member of the Royal Canadian Legion, and veteran, Chief Warrant Officer Retired, Len Davis along with Meredith Park were credited with initiating the project and seeing it come to fruition.

The new monument replaces a smaller version in the back of the Branch 599 property.

“That one was sort of hidden away, and when we put our flags up, they were getting all snarled up in the trees behind, and so I thought we should have something a little bit better,” said a smiling Davis.

It took roughly five years, with the help of committee members to get the monument in place.

The committee wrote to the Department of Veterans Affairs requesting financial assistance to help with the cost of the project.  

Veteran’s Affairs agreed to pay half the amount, making its contribution $25-thousand.

Branch 599 actively raised funds to come up with its $25-thousand share of the $50,000 project.

“Of course to get our $25,000 we had a lot of work to do,” said Davis who said members sold items such as t-shirts and hats.

“But it worked out just fine for us. Thank goodness for the people in this particular area. We tried to stay within West Ferris, and the business people, even the small business people, most of them all contributed to our cenotaph fund.”

Including a local business person who provided solar lighting, so the monument would remain lit.

The dedication ceremony coincided with the 83rd Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The ceremony also acknowledged Nipissing Junction-West Ferris war dead, including Flying Officer Robert Charland RCAF, who was killed in action on October 15, 1944, at the age of 26, and Flying Officer John Glen RCAF, killed in action on August 26, 1944, aged 19.  

Davis explains what the dedication means to the Legion.

“It means a lot to us because we are one of four or five Legions in the area and one of the smaller ones. I’m on cloud nine, seeing it become a reality.”  

Trowsdale is also proud of the Legion’s efforts.

“It is an honour. I look back at it and think of all the young men and women who served. I think of my mother and father who also served. So, to see something like this to remember them all, I can’t put it into words, it means so much,” shared an emotional Trowsdale.

 “We need to remember the past. This is a visual reminder of the past and what it cost, so you don’t repeat the same mistakes of the past.”