PORT BLANDFORD, N.L.— Two memorial stones, listing over 90 names of local veterans who had served in the First and Second World War, were unveiled at Port Blandford’s community war memorial site during the annual July 1 Memorial Day ceremony.
The idea was first formed by the Port Blandford Heritage Society in 2013, who later teamed up with Port Blandford Royal Canadian Legion Branch #48 in 2015.
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs provided $10,291 in federal funding— just under half of what was needed to satisfy the $23,000 price tag attached to the project.
The rest of the funds came from various community fundraisers.
“It was great to see the community come together to raise the remaining funds” said Mayor Chad Holloway. “The Port Blandford Heritage Society and Royal Canadian Legion held several events including kitchen parties, a cold plate take-out, a community breakfast, card games and a cook book sale just to name a few. In addition, there were several donations from individuals, businesses and community groups like the Clarenville Lions Club who donated $1,500 from their 50-50 draw.”
Foundation work was finished in the summer of 2017, while the stones themselves were installed by Nelson Monuments in June of 2018— just in time for the July 1 ceremony.
Additionally, the Royal Canadian Legion had the name of Korean Conflict veterans who have since passed carved into the existing memorial.
The communities last living Korean Conflict veteran Sid Matthews, and Monnie Hann, widow of veteran Gordon Hann, unveiled the names.
“It was a very emotional morning that brought tears of sadness and joy as the new memorial brought closer to the many families who now have a place they can go and pay their respect to their loved ones” said Bram Churchill, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #48. “There were many young people in attendance and it is up to them to keep remembering and to keep the annual memorial services going because we are all getting older and each year there are less of us.
“With the names of our veterans carved in these stones, hopefully it will stand as a reminder of what these people sacrificed those many years ago.”