EMC News: Ceremony marks arrival of Howitzer guns at Memorial Park

Published on June 13, 2013 in EMC

EMC News - These guns will roar no more in anger. Where once they were used by Canada's soldiers to defend us, the two Howitzers now sit silently, guardians of the respect with which Carleton Place remembers its veterans.

"There was an element that was missing to our expansion project," said Ron Goebel, president of the Carleton Place Royal Canadian Legion's cenotaph committee, at the dedication ceremony in Memorial Park on Saturday, June 8. The week was a special week for members of the Canadian military family, with the 69th anniversary of D-Day marked on June 6, Canadian Forces Day on June 2, and the end of the Korean War commemorated at the end of the month.

D-Day was known as "The Longest Day," but like the Canadian soldiers who stormed Juno Beach in Normandy back in 1944, the Legion committee also went through a tough slog to get through the bureaucratic lines to get the Howitzer guns installed.

"There were times when we were ready to throw in the towel, as so many other communities across Canada had done... We didn't realize we would have to jump through so many hoops," admitted Goebel. "But we persevered."

Coun. Jerry Flynn agreed that the Carleton Place Legion

and its supporters had held firm in their resolve.

"While other communities gave up, we did not," Flynn said. "I am proud of our cenotaph and what it represents...I hope that everyone shares my pride and the sanctity of it."

Flynn joined others in thanking Thomas Cavanagh for donating a truck and a driver to transport the two mighty war machines from Canadian Forces Base Uplands to Memorial Park.

Legion president George Wood looked back on the threeand-a-half year struggle to complete the project.

"The long wait has been worth it," he said. "I believe we are one of the best-looking memorial parks in the country. I hope that we will continue to respect the sanctity of this park and what it represents."

While many remarked on the sacrifices, sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, made by Canada's soldiers in both war and peacekeeping missions around the world, Carleton Place Mayor reminded the audience that the memorial was also a sentinel for "our hope for peace and a better tomorrow. We continue to show our gratitude and remembrance."

While the last of Canada's active duty troops came back from fighting Italy and Germany nearly seven decades ago, Canada has continued to send her soldiers abroad to the most unlikely of places, either on the ground or in the air - Afghanistan,

Korea, Libya, Cyprus, Egypt, Haiti, the former Yugoslavia, just to name a few.

The ceremony had a particular poignancy for Randy Hillier, since his own son is still on active duty and was due to be shipped out to Afghanistan on June 10. The Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington MPP said that for all of the troops that were being sent there, "we hope and pray that they will all return home safe and sound."

There were some lighter moments during the ceremony as well, as Goebel addressed the question on the minds of quite a few people present - are the guns still capable of firing? "They are inoperable because the minister across the road doesn't want them firing on his church," joked Goebel, since the guns are pointed right at Zion-Memorial United Church on Franklin St.

During the ceremony, Rev. David Andrew of St. James' Anglican Church, read from the Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter three.

"There is a time for everything," he read. "A time to be born, and a time to die...A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance...a time to search and a time to give up...a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."