RCAF memorial dedication set for this weekend

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SACKVILLE, N.B. – It’s been a year in the works and now Deputy Mayor Joyce O’Neil can stand back and take pride in her efforts as a special monument is unveiled at Memorial Park this weekend to honour those who have served in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

O’Neil has taken the lead on this project since bringing the idea to the town last year, sparked by her desire to see the air force represented somehow within Memorial Park. She said there’s a scout car in the park acknowledging the army’s contributions and an anchor to recognize the navy but no monument for the air force.

“We’ve got the army and the navy represented there but nothing for the air force,” she said.

More than 325 Sackville-and-area residents and Mount Allison students have served in the air force both here and abroad in the years since WWI, said O’Neil, with 74 of those having made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

“It just made me feel remiss in not having something there.”

The event this Saturday will see the unveiling of a display case featuring a propeller from an Avro Anson and an interpretive panel.

“The memorial will honour past, present and future members of the air force,” said O’Neil.

The unveiling will also help commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which took place on June 6, 1944. In fact, a vial of sand taken from Juno Beach has been poured into the head of this memorial in remembrance of the thousands of Canadians who stormed the beach on D-Day during the Battle of Normandy.

A number of VIPs have been invited to attend the event, which will kick off at 11 a.m. this Saturday at Memorial Park and will include a ceremonial procession with the Moncton 101 Air Cadet Band, speeches by dignitaries, music with local songstress Janet Crawford and accompanist Jerry Hannah, and the unveiling.

A reception, with refreshments provided by Sandpiper Catering and featuring the Sackville Citizens’ Band, will be held at the Tantramar civic centre following the unveiling.

At 2 p.m., the Tantramar Heritage Trust will unveil a new RCAF themed display at the Boultenhouse Heritage Centre.

Organizations: Canadian Air Force, Moncton 101 Air Cadet Band, Tantramar Heritage Trust Boultenhouse Heritage Centre

Geographic location: Memorial Park, Juno Beach, Normandy

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