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Constance Lake honours its veterans with monument

Thursday November 22, 2012
Peter Moon/Canadian Rangers
A memorial listing the names of the 11 members of the Constance Lake First Nation who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean Conflict is unveiled by, from left, Chief Warrant Officer Stan Stapleford of the Canadian Forces, Constance Lake Chief Roger Wesley and Lieutenant-Colonel Morley Armstrong, commanding officer of the Canadian Rangers in northern Ontario.

A monument honouring the memory of the 11 members of Constance Lake First Nation who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean Conflict has been unveiled at a special ceremony honouring their sacrifice.

The ceremony included children at Mawawmatama Holistic Education Centre, as well as members of the community’s Canadian Ranger patrol, Junior Canadian Rangers, members of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets corps from Hearst and members of the Hearst branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

“Let us make this place special, to be a place of honour,” said Chief Roger Wesley.
The words “They sacrificed their lives freely for our freedom,” are on the plaque, along with the names of the fallen. The plaque is attached to a large rock.

The chief said he wants the piece of ground on which the memorial stands to become a small park honouring not only the veterans who died but the community’s past leaders. He wants trees to be planted on it and photographs put up of those being honoured.

“Having these types of symbols will allow us to show our pride in our people,” he said. “We’re a very proud people but we don’t brag about it. We’re humble about it. We want to pay homage to our veterans and our past leaders.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Morley Armstrong, commanding officer of the 560 Canadian Rangers in northern Ontario, who helped unveil the monument, said he was impressed by the ceremony and by the number of people who participated in it.

The idea for the monument began with members of the Constance Lake Canadian Ranger patrol, said Master Corporal Stanley Stephens, who is also a vice president of the Hearst branch of the Legion. Rangers put in the concrete base for the monument, found a suitable rock on the reserve, and arranged for a local mining company to pay for the plaque.

Ranger Florrie Sutherland, who played a leading role in the ceremony’s planning, was presented with the Canadian Forces Decoration by Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong in recognition of her long and dedicated military service.

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