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Former Warminster legion unveils new cenotaph with original top piece

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After the Warminster Legion closed in 2021, its cenotaph, erected more than 50 years ago by the Ladies Auxiliary, needed a new home.

"We made a promise to the members of the Legion and to the residents of Warminster that we would move the cenotaph," said Mary Thompson, the former president of the Warminster Legion.

Since the old monument couldn't maintain its structure for a move, funds from the sale of the Legion building have been used to build a new cenotaph in a park on Warminster Side Road.

"We tried to preserve the whole monument, but it fell apart on us. But the top piece was the big inspiration," explained Thompson.

That top piece was salvaged and incorporated into the new cenotaph to preserve the character and history of the original veteran's monument.

"We wanted to pick up on what was already engraved on there but also send a message that this was an ongoing memorial for other veterans that would be coming from the Warminster area in the future," explained Steve Sanderson, the owner of Signature Memorials in Orillia.

Former members of Warminster's Branch 619 hope that, like the poppy, this can be an ode to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"To me, it's a reminder. My dad fought in the war. It's a symbol of what the veterans went through for us to have peace," said Thompson.

Sanderson said they took a great deal of pride in putting this display together, explaining that his father, who couldn't join the military due to a medical condition, taught him that although they treat every project equally, there's nothing more important in their business than a veterans' monument.

"He wanted to be in the military, but he couldn't join the military. But my father-in-law was very much in the military, and that's when it kind of struck me how important the veterans in the military are," explained Sanderson.

In years to come, Thompson hopes the new cenotaph can be a daily reminder for those visiting the park and a centrepiece of Remembrance Day ceremonies for Warminster Elementary School.

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