VETERANS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA INC.
L'ASSOCIATION CANADIENNE DES VÉTÉRANS DE LA CORÉE INC.
The Wall of
Remembrance is an extremely impressive, curved
200 foot-long polished granite wall. It contains
516 bronze plaques, one for each of the volunteer
Canadian soldiers who died in Korea. A central
bronze feature lists all of the Canadian Military
Units which served in the War. This Memorial will
ever cause us, and hopefully, future generations,
to remember the high price that is paid for
Wall of Remembrance at Meadowvale Cemetery offers
veterans of the Korea War and Canadians a
meaningful place to remember and reflect upon
this conflict," adds Dr. Judith Meeks,
president and CEO of Commemorative Services
"We are proud to be part of today's very important ceremony, and in helping to create a lasting, permanent memorial to those who lost their lives. "CSO designed and constructed the Wall and has undertaken the responsibility for its perpetual care and maintenance.
How did the
idea come about!
According to those who have been with the project from the beginning it happened this way. It grew from a next of kin requesting a photo of the grave marker of a soldier who had been buried in Korea. The request was made to George Mannion, then the president of Unit 57 KVA. Some pictures were taken by Bill Allan, the new president of Unit 57, who was on a revisit to Korea. The pictures were passed on to the relatives.
Seeing the gratitude and pleasure displayed by the relatives Bill Allan and George Mannion discussed the idea of building an accessible and permanent Memorial. In the beginning it was conceived as perhaps being portable and displaying a collection of photographs of the grave markers in Pusan and Yokohama. They soon realized this would not account for those buried elsewhere, missing or lost at sea. The idea of a permanent monument soon came to be what they felt was needed.
They went to Montreal and met with the National President, Henri St. Laurant, Emile St. Jean, the Quebec Region President and Elburn Duffy, the Ontario Region President. They received, I guess one would say, approval in principle. This was how the idea began and now all that was needed was the money. It is not an easy task to raise $300,000.00 even for a good idea. They first solicited the aid of KVA units in the Toronto area.
|What did they need to do next? They needed to have more people involved so they formed a committee soon to be known as the Wall Committee. It began with the Co-founders, Bill Allan, who assumed the role of Chairman and George Mannion. They were joined by Clyde Bougie, Sam Carr, Dave Davidson, Don Flieger, Ben Mathers, Leonard Pelletier and Don Williams. These were the people who persevered to the end. They were assisted by Valerie Orr who was hired as a consultant and advisor. Soon funds started coming in and the project was officially given the go ahead!|
The project was officially launched at Meadowvale Cemetery on the 3rd of November, 1996. Mr. Kyong Bo Shim, the Consul General from Toronto turned the sod while being closely observed by the Mayor of Brampton, Peter Robertson, the MP for Brampton West, Ms. Colleen Baumier and the Chairman, Bill Allan. About 150 Korea Veterans were on parade. Members of the Royal Canadian Legion and local Army Cadets assisted with the ceremony. The Pipes and Drums of the Lorne Scots accompanied them on the march to and from the Memorial site.
Raising the money soon began in earnest. As pointed out earlier, $300,000.00 isn't that easy to raise. You have a good idea and just assume everyone will be eager to support it. The money seemed to come in fairly rapidly in the beginning but then it dried up to just a trickle.. In the end the money was all raised thanks to the Royal Canadian Legion, the Canadian Korean Community, The Army, Navy and Airforce Veterans of Canada, KVA Units, cities, towns and villages, Military Associations, businesses, both large and small, Service Clubs, relatives, friends and other Canadians all gave donations. The Korea Veterans Association of Canada, (Inc.) remains deeply indebted to all of these sources for helping reach our goal. It soon became apparent that we would build the Wall. It represents a lot of hard work by a few people but really it shows us all what co-operation can achieve!
As the plans neared completion another group was assembled to arrange for the Dedication and accompanying Reunion. Herb Pitts, from Unit 57, became the Co-ordinator. He was assisted by Unit 23 members George Wilkinson, Roy Hall, Art Baker and Bill Bailey. Other units in the area came and offered their assistance with some of the week-end's events. These included Unit 52(Ken Gawthorn), Unit 59 (Bill Crozier), Unit 23 (Phil Ashe) and Unit 11 (Doug Finney).
The Reunion and Dedication Ceremonies went off just as planned, if not better. Everyone did his or her part. The City of Brampton, the local MP and MPP all helped make this a great success. The many veterans, friends and relatives came together in a time of sharing. Many acquaintances were renewed, others made and many a story was told. The weekend activities were varied and enjoyed by all. There was dancing, music: The Queens Own Rifles of Canada Band, the Pipes and Drums of the Lorne Scots. There were quiet get-togethers, raffles and lots of food. When the buses picked us up to transport us to the Cemetery it was the beginning of a new era in the lives of Korea veterans.
Korean Ambassador, His Excellency, Hang Kyung Kim
Government of Canada - Colleen Baumier MP
Commemorative Services - Dr. Judith Meeks
Government of Ontario - Tony Clement/Joe Spina, MPP's
Mayor of Brampton - Peter Robertson
Canadian Armed Forces
Royal Canadian Legion
Army, Navy and Airforce Association
Korea Veterans of Canada, United States and United Kingdom
K.V.A. of Canada/Ontario, Units 57/23
Canadian Tribal Association
Next of Kin - Mary Robertson
highlight of the day was when the troops and spectators
were told that they could break and place a poppy on the
plaques bearing the names of those who died for our
freedom. The Wall suddenly became a "sea of
red" as veterans, relatives and friends paid homage
to the souls of our fallen comrades. An air of serenity
seemed to fall over the site. For some, certainly, it was
the easing of a lot of anxiety. Symbolically these brave
souls were honoured by their own.
It was the end of a dream for many.
The Wall was
symbolically turned over to Ontario Region President,
Gordon J.H. Strathy, CD by W.R. Allan, Wall Chairman. It
was officially turned over to the National President,
Donald Flieger, CD at the 1998 National Convention held
in Winnipeg. It is now a National Wall of Remembrance
under the control of the Korea Veterans Association of
It is our plan to hold a Memorial Service each 27th of July on an ongoing basis.
Burial plots are
available from Meadowvale Cemetery and are located
adjacent to the Wall. For availability and prices please contact the
Commemorative Services of Ontario at (905)
451-3716 and ask for either Helen Schauer or
Perhaps you would like to visit the Wall as a group and would like a guided tour. That can easily be arranged by calling or writing Dave Davidson, KVA National President. Tel (519) 896-6466, Fax (519) 896-6467, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please give a little advance notice.
All projects come to
completion as intended but sometimes associated ideas do
crop up. Such was the case with the Wall.
Ontario Region got the idea of having a bursary in honour of those symbolically honoured by the Wall. A lot of discussion took place and "seed money" was put up by Ontario Region. It was felt that if we could get $30,000.00 we could offer bursaries in the amount of $100.00 to $500.00 annually to two or more first year students. If we simply used the accrued annual interest it would be "perpetual." There was some money left in the Wall account and that along with Ontario's "seed" money made this a reality. The bursary is known as The Korea Veterans National Wall of Remembrance Bursary in honour of those Korea Veterans who paid the supreme sacrifice.
For further information please see section on bursary.
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