Dozens of community members visited the local fire hall in Hanwell, N.B. on Saturday, They carried chains, bracelets, medals and other items that reminded them of veterans.
A new statue to honour veterans in Hanwell will be made using mementos belonging to people of the community.
New Brunswick artist Peter Powning has been commissioned to create the five-metre steel memorial. It is intended to be completed by Remembrance Day.
Powning is making clay impressions of the items. Those impressions will be incorporated into the bronze relief that will wrap around the statue.
Long-time Hanwell resident Robert Theriault came by with two medals.
“It’s very important for Canadians to remember those people that have paid so much for us to live today and value what we have,” Theriault said.
Powning said he wants the memorial to demonstrate the power of community ties that support veterans.
“My thought with this was to honour the veterans in the context of the community and the reasons for who they were serving,” he said
“In a sense … you start with your family, the community around you, your province and the country. Obviously, the country is an important part of it. But these vets came from someplace particular, and they had support from their community.”
He said he hadn’t done a memorial to veterans before.
“They’re doing this as really an exercise in community building. I wanted to do something that would engage the community and they would know what the process was and be part of it.”
Powning said the plan was to have the main sculpture as a traditional obelisk form that is an open tracery of branches.
Tim Fox, the municipal councillor for the area, said the statue is significant because Hanwell is home for many veterans.
“We have a long history of service in our community, and a number of serving military, serving police, serving firefighters live in the community, as well as a great number of veterans.”
Fox said council and residents have wanted to create a memorial for a number of years.
“They seem to be very excited about it and the variety of pieces that are coming in is really incredible.”
Fox said over a 100 pieces had been brought in.
Ronald Glashan Gourlay spent 25 years in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. He stopped by the fire hall to speak with residents about his service.
The 83-year-old’s story will be one of many that will be honoured.
“I served all over the world for Canada so I thought it would be time to have a memory or two spread on,” he said.
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