Thousands of men and women from Greater Sudbury have answered the call of duty and fought for freedom from tyranny on foreign soil.
In all, 575 Sudburians did not return from the two world wars. Our citizens … our heroes … are buried on three different continents. Though Canada’s “Greatest Generation” – those who served in the two world wars and the Korean War – has ebbed away, remembering veterans is as meaningful today as it was 50 years ago.
There are more than 600,000 Canadian Forces veterans still active in communities across the country. The men and women who served during the Cold War, in Afghanistan and a number of peacekeeping missions have done so with the same honour and distinction as any who came before.
As Canadians, our commitment to our veterans is as resolute as their commitment to our country. The sacrifices these soldiers and their families have made so that we can live peacefully can never be forgotten.
Recently, City Council unanimously approved a Veteran and Family Community Appreciation Covenant, recognizing that:
- The strength of veterans comes from the strength of their families;
- The strength of families is supported by the strength of the community;
- The strength of the community comes from the strength of employers, educators, Civic and business leaders and its citizens.
The covenant reaffirms Greater Sudbury’s commitment to:
- The re-integration of military members and all veterans into our community;
- The efforts of community organizations to connect all military personnel, veterans and their families to services and programs;
- The annual ceremonies that remember our veterans and honour our heroes.
I’m proud to say this Council supported this commitment unanimously. And I’m just as proud to have had the opportunity to proclaim this commitment at a ceremony in September. At the same time, we helped dedicate the roads that frame Memorial Park downtown as Veteran’s Way.
It was a moving ceremony. And next spring, when the city adds the names of Pte. David Byers, Pte. Andrew Miller and Cpl. Glen Arnold to the wall of fallen soldiers from the Sudbury area, our commitment to these men and their families will be strengthened.
Recently, I had the honour of meeting the Mayor Guy Modot of Barbatre, France, at the invitation of the Coniston Community Action Network. Hundreds of Canadian soldiers were buried in Barbatre and other small towns dotting the French countryside. Among them is Robert Forestall from Coniston, whom Mayor Modot crossed the ocean to memorialize almost 70 years later.
Mayor Modot’s visit is a reminder that it’s the memories we keep that are important … and it’s the connections we make and bonds we form that will keep these memories alive.
As well, last year, our city expanded its offer of four hours free parking at municipal lots to any Canadian Forces veteran who qualifies for Poppy Plates. Previously, the offer extended only to war pensioners.
The city has also encouraged the community to support our troops, such as the yellow ribbons on the Bridge of Nations.
Our veterans and troops are role models for all of us. They remind us that we must return to our core values to defend and uphold our way of life.
On behalf of City Council, I would like to say thank you … to those who have served … to the families of those who have served … and to the many people in our great city who work to support military families.
Time has proven that Canada’s finest spans many generations.
Mayor Marianne Matichuk