Moosomin Legion memorializing all 85 soidiers on cenotaph
December 7, 2018 11:13 am
The Moosomin Legion has taken on the task of memorializing all 85 of the soldiers listed on the Moosomin Cenotaph by commissioning metal art memorials that will be hung in the Moosomin Legion once they are finished.
Each metal art memorial includes a photo of the soldier and a biography. However, some help will be needed by the public, by family members of the soldiers, and by local businesses in order to move the project along quickly.
“Our goal is to have all 85 names on our cenotaph done as metal art memorial prints,” explains Donna Lafleur with the Legion.
“Our project will not be complete until we have all 85 plaques at our Legion. We are hoping to have it done by Remembrance Day next year.”
So how can people help?
“People can see if any of their family members’ names are on the cenotaph, and if they have a bio or picture of their family member it will speed up the process of having the metal memorial art done,” she says. “Because the Canadian Fallen Heroes (the organization creating the memorials) have to research and write the bio and find a picture of the fallen hero. So if a family member has any of this, it will take no time at all to have that print commissioned.”
Lafleur says sponsorship is another way to help.
“If you have a family member on the cenotaph you may want to sponsor that specific memorial,” she says. “Anybody that wants to sponsor their own plaque can do that, and their name goes on the print as commissioned by them.
“Canadian Fallen Heroes has three levels of sponsorship. There are bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. And it’s $250, $500, $1000 and $2,500. Anything smaller than that, the Legion is issuing receipts, and once we reach the $250 mark, then we will sponsor one of those prints.”
The Legion unveiled the first of the metal art memorials at its roast beef supper on Remembrance Day.
Lafleur says the Legion got started on the project after Moosomin town council was contacted by Canadian Fallen Heroes.
“We were contacted by the town because they received a letter from Canadian Fallen Heroes, and one of the ladies that does the genealogy of it, she called me. She’d gotten my name from the website and she emailed me and asked if she could use my name and email as a contact for them. And then the town was looking into it, they had received a sponsorship letter, so they asked me to go to one of the meetings and explain what it was.
“We can’t repay the debt to the fallen heroes, but we can remember them. And one way to remember them is to have their plaques at our Legion.
“It’s the least we can do repay them. It’s the only way we can repay them, so that they live on forever, and so that the kids going forward, the generations coming, understand what our veterans did. The Legion is to educate, not just to serve our veterans, but to educate and make sure that people remember what the wars were all about. This is the Legion’s way to make sure that they are memorialized forever.”
Lafleur says there has already been good response to the project.
“The town has sponsored some, and we’ve had five other sponsors already before we unveiled them,” she says.
Things looking up for Moosomin Legion
Like many local Legions, the Moosomin Legion has had its struggles over the years with membership and the question of whether or not enough funds were available to maintain its building on Main Street.
But things are looking up for the Legion, which is seeing not only steady membership, but some younger members coming on board as well.
“Membership is staying steady but we are increasing the younger memberships as we are losing some of the older members,” says Donna Lafleur. “We are trying to target the age group from 40 to 55 because they are the next generation that’s going to have to carry on the Legion.
“A lot of them know about the Legion but they were never members of it.
“I think a lot of the younger people are starting to get more involved with it as a service club and realizing that they need to get involved or the Legion isn’t going to continue. A lot of the Legions are in trouble because they don’t have the membership and the younger membership, but we are trying to target the age group from 40 to 55 because I would say probably 75 per cent of our members are seniors and they’ve done their years of service. We need the younger members to carry on.”
Financially speaking the Legion is also in better shape than is was a few years ago.
“A lot of it is due to the fact that we run strictly on a volunteer basis, we don’t have any paid staff, and that has made the biggest difference,” says Lafleur.
“We actually have money invested for the future. Service Canada rents an office and are in one day a week, which helps. We also have done maintenance on our boiler system, so that should be a lot more efficient come winter.
“And we are having younger families come in. We are family friendly. We are not saying you have to be a Legion member to come in, and our wing nights are busy.”
Interior renovations completed
Being in a better financial position has allowed for a number or renovations to take place on the Legion building on Moosomin’s Main Street.
“We totally updated our whole club room,” says Lafleur. “All the walls have been painted, everything is brand new. We’ve put in all new wall board, new windows, we’ve done shadow boxes of uniforms. We have our ladies auxiliary and army and airforce uniforms in our shadow boxes. And we’ve put all new tables and chairs in the hall. We’ve put in those white folding tables and cushioned chairs.
“We’ve redone our whole hall. We’ve taken out the carpet and redid the whole front. It doesn’t even look like the same place.
“It was time for a facelift and to make everything look new and fresh.
“We are pretty much done our renos on the inside. We may have to do some updating on the outside yet. And we have applied for a grant to replace all our lighting and ceiling tiles, but won’t know by January. If we can’t get the grant we will look at slowly replacing the lights ourselves.”