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New memorial, lest we forget

Cenotaph honours Canada's veterans

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Nov 12/01) - With each passing year, the number of veterans across the country dwindles.

Time is claiming those who fought for Canada in the World Wars, the Korean conflict and dozens of peacekeeping missions. Fewer and fewer witnesses to the horrors of war remain to remind us of the sacrifices that are sometimes necessary.

A new cenotaph in Iqaluit will provide a permanent reminder of what so many gave up, says John Graham, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 4.

"It's something that's always been on our minds," Graham says.

The new monument replaces a simple plaque commemorating Canada's war efforts.

Construction of the imposing sculpture, made of black Belfast granite, began late last spring. Surrounded by flagpoles, the cenotaph incorporates a stylized maple leaf on its base. The granite alone cost $34,000.

Legion member Clark Wolfe designed the cenotaph. He says he wanted something that was "different, but still spoke of Canada, and what better could you have than a maple leaf?"

"A lot of thought went into the design," he adds.

Iqaluit's chilly November weather means Remembrance Day observances will not be focused around the new cenotaph.

Instead, Graham hopes to properly dedicate the memorial in the late spring, perhaps in May, during a ceremony honoring those who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic of the 1940s.

More importantly, the Belfast granite will serve year-round as a silent testimonial to the thousands of Canadian lives lost in defence of freedom.

In Inuktitut, English and French, the cenotaph offers the familiar phrase: "Lest We Forget."

The monument will speak for those who never returned, and for those whose voices have failed them with each passing year.

"That," says Wolfe, "is exactly what it's for."