The war memorial in Shelburne, Ontario stands in front of the town hall, on Victoria St at the corner of Main (Hwy 89). Lots of stuff packed into a small space here:
- A bronze statue of a soldier on a granite base, erected on 4 June 1923
- Plaques on the granite base naming those who died, the condition of which suggests recent replacement
- A small plaque for the opening of the Shelburne and Community Memorial Park on 4 June 1923
German guns, the booty of warGuns from WW1 and WW2
- A newer black granite monument “to those men and women who offered their lives so that we can be free. We thank them.”
Together, these elements offer glimpses of the changing ways of remembrance.
A 1923 souvenir program is for the official unveiling of the “Soldiers’ Memorial.” Shipley lists the statue as one that identifies fallen soldiers with Christian martyrs: “the expansive, triumphant gesture of one who has seen a vision. Even from the depths of despair the figure seems to be beholding a great truth.” (To Mark Our Place, p 146).
The front plaque says the monument was “erected by the people of Shelburne and vicinity to perpetuate the memory of our honoured dead and those who carried on in the Great Wars.” So we know it was added sometime after WW2. So, too, were the carved words around the bottom of the base: countries in which Canadians fought in WW1 and WW2, rather than WW1 battle sights.
The black granite marker is a recent addition to the space. Why was it necessary to repeat WW1, WW2 and Korea on another monument? Did anyone from the community serve as a peacekeeper or in Afghanistan? Or is this a move beyond honouring those in the community to a general nod to war?