VETERANS WALK: “We’re going to remember them every day”

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – One sure way to honour the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers who fought the occupying Germans in Normandy is by following in their footsteps.

And that’s exactly what led a delegation of young Normans from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to Cornwall’s inaugural Veterans Walk on Thursday (August 13).

“It’s important we honour the bravery of Canadian soldiers in person,” said Adelaie Caille, a 24-year-old member of the France-based Westlake Brothers Souvenir Association, named after three Toronto soldiers and brothers, George, Tommy and Albert, who died at Normandy during the Second World War.

Veterans, city officials, and the visitors from France (37 students and chaperones) gathered at the Cornwall Cenotaph during a special ceremony, hosted by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 297 and the SD and G Glens Association.

The ceremony included: singing the national anthem, a moment of silence, and the laying of wreathes by dignitaries and special guests, as well as a stirring rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ and bilingual readings by the Normandy students.

“It’s great to see the youth coming to Canada to remember something so important – and that is our freedom,” said Cornwall Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy.

In addition to launching the first Veterans Walk, the event also acted as a meet-and-greet for the teens, young adults, and the SD & G Highlanders, also known as The Glens.

The students’ gratitude for Canadian Second World War veterans stretches across continents to Cornwall’s Walter Solly and Rudy Roy, who fought on D-Day and were in attendance at the ceremony.

The walk started at the cenotaph on Second Street West, freshly lined with decorative banners commemorating those who fought to protect Canada in the World Wars, and ended at the Legion, where everyone gathered to dedicate a massive 26-ton self-propelled Howitzer. The tank sits atop a concrete pad at the corner of Second and Cumberland streets.

“We’re going to remember our veterans from now on. Yes, we do remember them on November 11th and we honour them, but now when we drive down this section of Second Street, we’re going to remember them every day. What we’re giving back to them is very little for what they gave to us,” said Ken Heagle, past president of Legion Branch 297.

The association arrived in Canada on Aug. 1 and will continue honouring soldiers, veterans, and war dead at organized events in Ottawa and throughout Ontario before returning to Normandy at the end of the month.

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