A large contingent of Legion members, essential services, students, and members of the public came out for a special dedication yesterday morning in Espanola.
The dedication was held at the municipal office at the intersection of Highway Six/Centre Street and Tudhope Street.
Town Clerk Joseph Burke, Espanola Legion Branch #39 President Gary MacPherson, and William Morin, a retired Indigenous veteran, and Councillor Ken Duplessis addressed the 100 or so individuals about how important the dedication of Highway Six/Centre Street is in honouring veterans past, present, and future.
Poignantly, yesterday was also the day to remember two soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan on this day. Espanola’s Private David Byers, Corporal Shane Keating, Corporal Keith Morley CD, and McKerrow’s Corporal Glen Arnold CD, were killed 17 years ago today, (September 18th) while serving our country in Afghanistan.
MacPherson had approached the town over a year ago asking for consideration that the signage be installed.
Council unanimously endorsed the acknowledgement pointing out it is an honour to be able to acknowledge those who served and who are now serving in the Canadian Forces.
MacPherson thanked the town for their support of the project.
Burke adds the signage has been installed at all four main intersections in Espanola in all three languages: English, French, and Anishinaabe.
A 21-Gun Salute was also held to mark the occasion, led by Wayne Golden, U.S. Army veteran, it included veterans from across the Forces including Morin, representing the Canadian Medical Corp, Paul Abbot of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, Don Patrie, of the Air Cadets, Debra Mastine of the Lorne Scots, Gary Trimmer of R. CN., and David and Francie Grasley, who both represented the Canadian Air Force.
A piper and bugler were also part of the ceremony playing Amazing Grace followed by The Last Post.
The signage was formally unveiled by veterans Jack Fraser and Ray Constantineau.
Senior students from Sacred Heart School were also on hand for the dedication. The Manitoulin-Sudbury DSAB, Espanola Volunteer Firefighters, police, even construction workers, and Domtar employees, also took part.
The dedication is part of the celebration of Legion Week across Canada.
Following the formalities, guests met at the Legion for a luncheon to mark the day.