Veterans Way Memorial Park Memorial Tree Dedication Ceremony Held Last Week in North Grenville – HomeTown TV12
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Veterans Way Memorial Park Memorial Tree Dedication Ceremony Held Last Week in North Grenville

Veterans Way Memorial Park Memorial Tree Dedication Ceremony Held Last Week in North Grenville

Left to right: Doug Brunton (VWMC), Roy Brown (VWMC), John Wilson, Chairman (VWMC), Mayor David Gordon, Councillor Donovan Arnaud and Carl Doucette, President (FFCC). – Photo courtesy of Dorothy Hamilton

North Grenville – The Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation Board of Directors, representatives from the Veterans Way Memorial Committee and a number of invited dignitaries gathered together at the Veterans Way Memorial Park on Saturday, June 24, 2017, to participate in a Canada 150 Military Tribute to the Canadian Armed Forces through the formal dedication of seven Memorial Trees that were planted at the site.

Carl Doucette, President of the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the event and welcomed those in attendance. He led off his comments by stating “we at the Corporation are proud to support this Memorial Park and Veterans Way in honour of those soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who paid the Ultimate Sacrifice.”

After introducing Mayor David Gordon and Councillor Donovan Arnaud as our special guests, Doucette called upon John Wilson, Chairman, Veterans Way Memorial Committee, to provide a brief history of the Veterans Way roadway and the Veterans Way Memorial Park.

“Veterans Way, the brainchild of Owen Fitz’Gerald, was formally created on May 25, 2002 with a ceremony that included Municipal and military representatives, Veterans and the general public. The naming of the road was accomplished with the support of the Municipality of North Grenville, the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation (FFCC) and the Royal Canadian Legion Kemptville Branch 212.”

Wilson went on to state that “the Veterans Way Memorial Park proposal was adopted by our Municipal Council with the passing of a special By-Law on August 8, 2011. It became a reality through the dedicated efforts of the Veterans Way Memorial Committee, comprised at the time of Owen Fitz’Gerald, Roy Brown, Doug Brunton and former Councillor Tim Sutton, along with the full support of the Municipality and the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation.”

“Later, three flagpoles, bearing the flags of Canada, the Royal Union (the Union Jack) and the United States of America were put in place. The flagpoles were sponsored by the Municipality of North Grenville, Cheryl Brown, Roy Brown, Owen Fitz’Gerald and the Royal Canadian Legion Kemptville Branch 212. The park benches were donated by Owen Fitz’Gerald as an individual and the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation (FFCC).”

“On September 27, 2015, with full Pomp and Ceremony, the M109A4+ Self-Propelled Howitzer Memorial Monument was dedicated to those who served and those who continue to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.” The Howitzer, donated by the Department of National Defence, was the final component of the original site and business plan approved by the Municipality.

Doucette then described the significance of the ceremony and the Memorial Trees that have been planted at the Memorial Park. “The seven special trees you see before you were planted by the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation as Living Memorials to the Canadian men and women who paid the Supreme Sacrifice during their service in armed conflicts and peacekeeping missions spanning the globe.”

“The central tree in the forefront is the Eastern White Pine representing the Six Nations Tree of Peace, whose origin dates back hundreds of years. In the early 1800’s the Tree of Peace helped form one of the most powerful leagues ever, the Iroquois League of Nations. The Iroquois League was made up of six tribes: the Cayuga, the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Seneca, and the Tuscarora.”

“The tribes of the Iroquois League at one time were fighting with one another. There were fierce battles, but the people grew tired of the fighting. They agreed to bury their weapons under a giant White Pine tree. They believed that the weapons would be carried away by the underground waters, so they sent the weapons off through the path of the roots. The weapons went in all four directions. After that, the tribes no longer fought. Instead, they formed the Iroquois League. Today the Iroquois people have peace with one another and together the tribes form a powerful nation.”

“This White Pine Six Nations Tree of Peace commemorates the end of the Second World War to keep us ever mindful that Peace comes at the cost of human life.”

Doucette continued by providing interesting background information on the Eastern White Pine by explaining that the Province of Ontario adopted the White Pine as an official symbol on May 1, 1984. “The Eastern White Pine is found throughout Ontario, being the tallest tree species in the Province and can live for more than 250 years. It is known as the “Tree of Great Peace” by the Haudenosaunee First Nations of Southern Ontario. How fitting then that this tree represents the Six Nations Tree of Peace.”

“Proceeding down the left side from the White Pine we have the White Oak, commemorating the First World War where 66,000 Canadians gave their lives and more than 172,000 were wounded. Next is the Red Oak commemorating the Second World War where 45,000 gave their lives and another 55,000 were wounded. The last tree in the line is the Bur Oak commemorating the Korean War where 516 gave their lives and many more wounded.”

“On the right side of the White Pine you first have the Red Maple, commemorating the Persian Gulf War where, thankfully, there were no Canadian casualties. Behind this is the Hard Maple commemorating the War in Afghanistan where 158 of our Canadians gave their lives and countless others live among us today with injuries to body and mind that they must carry with them for the rest of their lives. Finally, there is the Silver Maple commemorating operations supporting the United Nations and NATO.”

It is very appropriate that this site be the venue for these Living Memorials since the Memorial Park, as of July of 2016, has been registered with the Department of National Defence / National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials.

Doucette took a solemn moment to recognize and thank Veterans of the Second World War, Korea, United Nations and NATO Missions, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and all who have served and still serve in the Canadian military.

“I would be remiss if I did not recognize those who made this event possible. Roy Brown who brought this idea of Memorial Trees to fruition and for this we are deeply grateful to Roy, Owen Fitz’Gerald who we lost last year was front and centre with Roy, not only in this initiative, but in establishing this Park and Veterans Way, Doug Brunton and John Wilson, all members of the Veterans Way Memorial Committee, who now serve as a formal Standing Committee of the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation.”

Doucette then had Doug Brunton step forward to unveil a combined Dedication/Memorial Tree Legend plaque generously sponsored by the Corporation. Doucette concluded his remarks by stating “when you look at these trees in the future, you will remember the thousands of our fellow countrymen who died while in the service of our country, to ensure we live in peace in this beautiful country we call Canada.”

We take this opportunity to encourage your readers to visit the Memorial Park and spend a quiet moment viewing the plaque and the trees planted to commemorate our Fallen.

Submitted on behalf of the Veterans Way Memorial Committee of the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation

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