Jun 19, 2019
When she learned that nothing was being planned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion in South Frontenac, Harrowsmith’s Brenda Crawford knew just the place that a ceremony should take place.
She started working the phone. Soon she had arranged for the Mayor and some other local politicians, legion and community members, and several classes from nearby Harrowsmith Public School.
On the afternoon of June 5, a gathering was arranged at the new Harrowsmith junction, where there is a public square and a sculptured-metal poppies as a permanent feature. The former site of the Harrowsmith train station is just metres away, and Crawford remembers her own father walking to the station with other men from Harrowsmith and vicinity, to board the train that started their journey to World War II.
“Right there,” she said, pointing northeast to the corner of road 38 and the Harrowsmith-Sydenham Road, “my mother stood, leaning on the only gas pump in town at the time, watching my father walk to the train station to go off to war.”
Mayor Vandewal said a few words, some wreaths were laid to mark the occasion and a few people were wearing poppies, which they pinned to one of the wreaths. After a few moments, one of the Harrowsmith PS teachers, said “the students would like to sing ‘Oh Canada’”.
The students sang ‘Oh Canada’, and everyone else joined in. The students slowly walked away, back to school, and the assembly slowly broke apart as people went back to their daily routines.
“I feel that it is important,” Crawford said as people were leaving, “for us to acknowledge these events that shaped who we are, so the next generation will have some memory of what my parents’ entire generation endured in those years.”