Canada's involvement in the wars of the world has been well documented; as an official part of the British Empire, Canada found itself involved in some of the most frightful combat situations the world has ever seen, right from the beginning. The very worst of these wars, of course, were World War I and World War II. In these mass conflicts, thousands of men and women from across the country went overseas at the requirement of the government or voluntarily.
Many of them never returned back to their home and native land again. All across the country, cities and towns choose to honour the men and women who lost their lives in these international conflicts through statuary and other memorials. The town of Milton, Ontario, has an outstanding record of dedication to the memories of those from their town who went to fight, and died on foreign shores. As far as public acknowledgement of the sacrifice of native sons and daughters, Milton remembers in several different ways.
One of the oldest is the Milton War Veteran's Memorial. Located in Victoria Park in front of the courthouse, the Memorial is a statue depicting a soldier during a period of inactivity, standing upright with his helmet tipped onto the back of his neck and drinking from a bottle. The memorial includes the names of the soldiers who fell during World War I, which at the time of the memorial's erection was known as the Great War. The memorial itself was paid for and raised on the property in 1926, with the unveiling in September of that year. On its surfaces are engraved the names of the soldiers who fell during World War I who were from the Milton area. The monument was paid for by the citizens of Milton as a way to remember those who had sacrificed everything for the freedom that Canada believes in.
Today, the Veterans Memorial in Milton is a regular part of November Remembrance Day ceremonies, and although it was intended as a tribute to those who fell in the Great War, today it has added significance as a reminder of those who have fallen in later wars. The fact that it holds the title still of Great War memorial indicates that there was a time when people believed that such a conflagration could never occur again and reminds Canadians that we must always be on guard.
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