A Commitment To Ensuring The Cenotaph Is ‘Never Left Alone And Abandoned On Remembrance Day’

Ken Czaplicki, left and Roger Demers check out the inscribed signature of Elizabeth Wyn Wood, sculptor of the Welland-Crowland War Memorial in Chippawa Park./Photos by Joe Barkovich.

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

A remembrance never-ending is inscribed in the cold granite of the Welland-Crowland War Memorial in Chippawa Park:

“At The Going Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them,” are Brit poet Laurence Binyon’s words from his 1914 Ode of Remembrance

You won’t know they are there unless you train your eyes on the front base of the monument, where they stretch from beginning to end.

Ken Cassavoy, a co-organizer of Thursday’s Remembrance Day Community Commemoration honed in on remembrance in his remarks to onlookers. 

“We are gathered here today to remember and honour, in particular, the 207 service members from Welland and Crowland who lost their lives in the two World Wars and Korea. The 207 names are all inscribed on the other side of this monument, ” he said.

But remembrance must also extend to “all the others” who in one way or another served or sacrificed for their country. This includes the two world wars, Afghanistan and UN Peacekeeping duties in many countries, Cassavoy said.

“I’m sure each of you will have some of your own personal thoughts and memories at this time.”

Cassavoy said the community commemoration was started by Wellander Jean-Luc Clin who was in the park one November 11. He was struck by the fact nothing was going on and, on this day of all days, the monument was alone. 

“He designed the service so that it would be kept very simple, with no speeches, just a thoughtful gathering of friends, family and the public…a few moments of Remembrance.”

Mr. Clin passed in 2018 but before he did, asked Betsy Warrankie to keep it going, which she has done. Then Cassavoy joined in and working together the two have ensured that “our magnificent Welland-Crowland War Memorial is never left alone and abandoned on Remembrance Day.”

A highlight of the service is joining CBC Radio for the live Remembrance Day broadcast from the National War Memorial in Ottawa, followed by co-organizer Warankie’s reading of In Flanders Fields. 

Cassavoy said Welland Museum has a First World War and Second World War exhibit featuring artifacts and other information from the wars. The museum will be re-opening Dec. 4  for its Christmas Open House.

He also referred to Friends of the Cenotaph, a group whose sole objective is the service’s continuance. Those interested in joining could sign up. 

“There are no meetings, no formal activities, the Friends just help to make sure there is always a service here at our magnificent Cenotaph every November 11th.”

Cassavoy said about 250 people attended the service, a record.

Welland Branch 4, Royal Canadian Legion, held its Remembrance Day service at the legion on Morningstar Avenue also Thursday morning.

A wreath from the City of Welland was the lone adornment at the Welland-Crowland War Memorial until after the service when dozens of onlookers affixed their poppies to the storied monument.

1 thought on “A Commitment To Ensuring The Cenotaph Is ‘Never Left Alone And Abandoned On Remembrance Day’

  1. Claire Masswohl

    Excellent article Joe. Made me think of many people I met in my working life who made it to Canada that suffered through wars in various countries. Many sad stories of loss.

    Reply

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