Even with a stubborn, chilly wind and clouds intermittently covering up an otherwise brilliant sun, there was a strong turnout for a rededication service at Tracadie Veterans’ Memorial Park, on the afternoon of Oct. 22.
The refurbished park was celebrated in a ceremony which included a blessing by Father John Barry as well as a closing prayer by Deacon Alonzo Reddick, the signing of O’Canada and Amazing Grace by Anne Marie Long, and speeches by local politicians; MP for Cape Breton-Canso Rodger Cuzner, Antigonish MLA Randy Delorey and Municipality of the County of Antigonish Councillor Gary Mattie.
“The effort which has gone into the development of this space, to have it refurbished, it’s certainly worth celebrating … and this is just a spectacular setting,” Cuzner said amongst his words.
Delorey reflected on being around the park during family walks in the area.
“This enhancement you see here is so much more accessible to all members of our community and, certainly, built to last like the enduring legacy of those who have served on our behalf during history,” Delorey said, while also noting the timing, with Remembrance Day right around the corner, as being fitting.
Mattie, paralyzed when he was 17-years-old, also pointed to the accessible feature of the new park.
“I’d like to thank the committee who redesigned the park,” he said. “When I first saw the accessibility part … I think you did a wonderful job.”
Committee chair Betty Pettipas offered ‘concluding remarks’ during the ceremony where she thanked all those who contributed to the refurbishment work and talked about her father being a Second World War veteran.
After the ceremony, she talked about the evolution of the park, with the Casket.
“The first one, when it was built, there wasn’t a lot of money left over, after putting stain-glass windows in the church, so we used wood and the wood rotted over the years, so we had to do something,” she said.
“We decided we would go with something that would be permanent and went with this.”
Pettipas noted Francis Arsenault did the concrete and stone work on the park and, when asked about the accessibility point noted by Delorey and Mattie in their remarks, said it was an important part of the design for the committee.