June 19th, 2024

Cenotaph unveiled at St. Margaret’s Church

By KENDALL KING on November 12, 2022.

Attendees at the unveiling of St. Margaret's Church's new cenotaph held flags to represent the nationalities of veterans buried on the church's grounds.--NEWS PHOTO KENDALL KING

kking@medicinehatnews.com

Parishioners, community members and veterans came together Friday for the unveiling of a new cenotaph St. Margaret’s Church.

Proposed by church reverend David Carter, the cenotaph is a means of honouring local veterans and service members who died in combat and are buried in the church’s adjoining cemetery. As well as a means of recognizing the continued efforts of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“(Our cemetery) represents so many different theatres of war,” Carter told the News. “And (those buried) deserve to be remembered because (without them) we don’t have what we have.”

A total of 19 veterans who served in seven different conflicts are buried in the Eagle Butte church’s cemetery. As well as a host of civilians who had experience living in an active war zone, before moving to southeast Alberta.

Carter hopes the cenotaph will keep the memory of those laid to rest at the church alive for years to come. And he is grateful to the community for supporting the project through donations and involvement in the project.

Mike Bannow and Michael Anctil of Medicine Hat Monumental – which helped in crafting the cenotaph – say the decision to support Carter’s vision was easy.

“A monument shows that somebody was here and they made a difference,” said Anctil, who works with the company as a carver.

Bannow, a memorial designer, agrees, stating “Everything we build is going to be a history of someone’s life. It’s just what we do … so we were happy to help.”

Several members of Redcliff’s Legion were present for the cenotaph unveiling and following Remembrance Day ceremony, and expressed their pleasure for such efforts.

“For me what it’s all about is respect,” past president and former South Alberta Light Horse member Dennis Rathwell said. “If it wasn’t for our veterans, we wouldn’t have the quality of life that we have today. So things like this (cenotaph creation) are a great thing.”

“This is something I’ll remember forever,” said Redcliff Legion executive and formerly deployed UN service member Bill Fardy when sharing his thoughts about the reveal. “And I was honoured to be part of it.

Fardy not only appreciates being recognized for his service, but also finds comfort in remembering his own family members who served.

During the unveil, Fardy volunteered to hold an American flag, which had been brought to represent one of the four nations the cemetery’s veterans served under – with the other nations being Canada, Britain and Wales.

While the flags were used during the unveiling ceremony, they were not incorporated into the cenotaph design. Instead, the monument is decorated with a inscription which reads ‘In memoriam of those who served in defence of democracy and freedom.’ As well as a custom-designed cross of sacrifice, which combines a sword and cross – symbols of war and faith.

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