‘It’s important to keep the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice alive.’
Townhall in Stratford, P.E.I., unveiled a moving tribute to local soldiers as an addition to the town’s cenotaph this week.
The project consists of an “honour roll” of ten metal panels on the ground along the walkway leading to the war memorial, each with the name of a local soldier who died in combat or died of injuries after returning home.
Kevin Reynolds, Stratford’s director of planning, development, and preservation, stated, “It’s a really, really neat thing.” For the past few years, he and the town’s history sub-committee have overseen the project.
“The town has been seeking a means to make these names stand out a little more than just having them on the cenotaph itself for a number of years.”
The soldiers’ names, the war in which they fought, and a cutout outline of boots they may have worn are all engraved on the metal panels.
“The soldier who is no longer there is symbolized by the empty boots,” Reynolds stated.
Paid the ultimate sacrifice
When the sun shines, the cutout picture of the boots and the soldiers’ names are projected onto the new path to the cenotaph by the shadows cast by each panel.
“As people approach the cenotaph, you’re passing by the ten soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice, which is essentially forming their own honour guard,” Reynolds stated.
There are also two explanatory panels, one for the First World War and the other for the Second World War, that relate the personal stories of the soldiers.
Two of the soldiers’ families were present at the project’s launching event earlier this week. A grandchild of William Joseph Stewart spoke on the effect her grandfather’s absence from the war had on her family. While fighting overseas, a grand-nephew of Daniel W. McInnis read a poem called Thoughts of Home written by his great-uncle.