New cenotaph at Georgian College pays tribute to Canada's armed forces
Some of the dignitaries on hand for the dedication of the new Cenotaph at the Barrie Campus of Georgian College on Thursday October 6, 2011. From Left - Barry Peacock, Honorary Colonel, Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics; Jamie Massie, Honorary Col. CFB Borden; Chief Warrant Officer Tony Hill, CFB Borden; Col. J.P.L. Meloche, Base Commander, CFB Borden; Brian Tamblyn, President
Stephen McIntosh and Lisa Plume walked solemnly up to Georgian College's new cenotaph to lay a wreath as John Lennon's Imagine played on the loud speaker.
And as the chairman of the alumni association and president of the student council stood to observe the scene, two dozen doves were quietly released just beyond the park's long, curved wall.
Thursday's ceremony to unveil the $235,000 cenotaph in the centre of the college's campus attracted members of the college and the community, as well as dignitaries.
"The event was Georgian's way to commemorate the sacrifices" made by members of the Canadian military, said Georgian College president Brian Tamblyn.
The centre island inside the campus' roundabout was transformed into a circular park containing four large slabs of marble designed by John D. Bell and Associates and built by Outdoor Living Landscapes, a division of Gregor Homes.
Hand-crafted bronze fallen leaves adorn each piece of marble. The 44 leaves represent the fallen members of the country's military history and were designed by Hillsdale sculptor John McEwan who teamed up with Derek Martin of Martin House Garden Art.
The cenotaph also pays tribute to Pte. Kevin McKay, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan.
"The initiative by Georgian College is an incredible way for individuals who are studying on this campus to always remember," said Col. Louis Meloche, commander of nearby CFB Borden.
Many of the speakers commented on how the memorial serves to honour those who fought for our freedoms allowing us to now live in a democratic society.
Those freedoms, said Simcoe County Warden Cal Patterson, come with a price.
The celebration took place just as Ontario residents were exercising their right to vote - a legacy left by those who fought, pointed out Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman.
"What you are doing is ensuring we will never forget those sacrifices," he said.
The project was funded through $25,000 in funding from Veterans Affairs Canada and a series of donations, including $21,920 from Georgian staff members, $10,000 from alumni members and $15,000 from the Barrie Students' Administrative Council (SAC).
Other partners included the Royal Canadian Legion, businesses and members of the public.
Tamblyn also thanked Arch Brown's family and the Massie family for their contributions.