NOVEMBER 3, 2012
ANIMALS IN WAR DEDICATION UNVEILED IN CONFEDERATION PARK, OTTAWA
The overcast skies and November chill did not dampen the spirits and feeling of anticipation as the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces band began to play the National Anthem. Invited guests and a capacity crowd looked on and applauded as RCMP Corporal Luc Patenaude and his police dog Cujo led the procession of officials to their seats. Two RCMP riders and horses stood at attention just behind the Dedication.
Those in attendance included Mr. Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa–Orléans and representative for the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Senator Yonah Martin, Mrs. Laureen Harper, Honorary Patron of the Animals in War Dedication Project, Brigadier-General M.K. Overton, Assistant Chief of Military Personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces, and Mr. Russell Mills, Chair of the National Capital Commission.
Animals in War Dedication founder, Lloyd Swick, made his opening remarks, followed by Presenting Sponsor Dr. Peter Chung (Eminata Group). Committee member Dr. Susan Dowler thanked the sponsors and all Canadians who worked together to make the Dedication a reality.
The audience was very appreciative of the presentations made by three young Canadians. Richard Barrie (Glashan High School), Anne Fergusson (War Amps), and Andrew Garbutt (742 National Capital Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets) each spoke about the war dog, the canary’s job during wartime, and about Sgt. Reckless, a little Korean mare who won many awards for bravery.
After Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, issued a Proclamation, naming November 3, 2012 War Animals Day, the Dedication was unveiled. Honourary patron Laureen Harper, Lloyd Swick, along with Richard Barrie, Anne Fergusson, and Andrew Garbutt, unveiled the first of three plaques. Messrs. Royal Galipeau and Russell Mills, along with Brig. General Overton unveiled the second plaque. The Animals in War Dedication Committee unveiled the third plaque. Senator Yonah Martin, Dr. Stephanie Chung, and Presenting Sponsor Dr. Peter Chung unveiled the life-size sculpture of the medical service dog.
The ceremony closed with the Royal Anthem and the release of, appropriately, fifty homing pigeons – messenger pigeons were a vital component of good communications on the battlefield.
It was a very special day for the Animals in War Committee and for Canada. We should all be very proud to finally have a national Dedication honouring our war animals. We hope that you will take the time to visit Confederation Park, learn more about war animals: their brave deeds, their sacrifice and the very special bond they shared with the soldiers who served alongside them.
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