“We owe it to them to remember,” MP elect Eric Duncan
Members of the Matilda Monument Committee are shown following the service of re-dedication for the newly restored Matilda Monument & Cenotaph located at Matilda Hall in Dixons Corners. From the left, Jim Locke, Cindy Ault Peters, SDSG MP elect and chair Eric Duncan, Darlene Riddle, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 370 in Iroquois and South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan. Thompson Goddard photo

DIXONS CORNERS – Despite the cold and rainy weather, a crowd estimated to be over 60 people gathered outside Matilda Hall in Dixons Corners to watch, as the Matilda Monument and cenotaph was re-dedicated during a moving ceremony on Oct. 27. 

Master of ceremonies, Eric Duncan, SDSG MP elect and chair of the Matilda Monument Committee (MMC), welcomed people to the event following the arrival of the Legion Colour Party who were piped in by the Kemptville Legion Pipes and Drums. He commented on the sacrifices made, the horrors endured by those who served their country during armed conflicts and noted that this would have also affected their families and friends. Duncan thanked South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan, Cindy Ault Peters, Jim Locke and Darlene Riddle, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 370 in Iroquois, who served as MMC members, working together with community partners, the federal government and the municipal government to make this project successful.

The project received $25,000 from the federal government, $10,000 from the EDP community fund, with local people and businesses contributing money and services to the restoration project. One of the fundraising projects was the ability for individuals to purchase memorial stones for placement at the site, with Duncan explaining it is still possible to purchase memorial stones with Jim Locke being the person to contact. He continued that the site is close to completion, with a bench and flag poles as well as some stones still to be installed.

SDSG MPP Jim McDonell expressed his thanks to the committee for their work, with South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds echoing this sentiment and mentioning how this monument will honour those who have served and sacrificed so that we may enjoy freedoms in this country. Riddle mentioned that it would have been nice if the veterans had been able to see the work done to ensure that their sacrifices are remembered in the community. William Shearing, who has served in the Canadian Armed Forces, in both regular and reserve units, spoke for a few minutes on the contributions of the Stormont Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders during the Second World War, making note of two local servicemen whose names are on the plaque. He then presented to the MMC a framed photo of two servicemen, whose names are listed on the memorial plaque, who had served with the SDG Highlanders and died during The Second World War and whose names are listed on the memorial plaque. Duncan accepted the gift on behalf of the Matilda Memorial Committee and expressed his gratitude to Shearing.

A brief but poignant Ceremony of Remembrance was held with five wreaths laid in memory of the fallen and then the KLP&D played a selection of Scottish and Second World War tunes for the crowd. A prayer of re-dedication was led by Pastor Aaron Thompson, with Duncan concluding the ceremony by reminding those present of the need to remember the sacrifices of those who ensured the continuation of our democracy, and the need for teamwork; in order to successfully complete projects like this.

Following the departure of the Colour Party and the KLP&D, light refreshments were provided by the MMC with an opportunity for fellowship available inside Matilda Hall.