Fourteen Canadian war heroes were honoured with life-size busts and statues Sunday, adding human faces and stories to Canada's War Memorial in downtown Ottawa.
The statues complete what has been a major renovation of the area surrounding the memorial, just east of the Parliament Buildings.
Six years ago, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added to honour all fallen soldiers, and now visitors can see and read about individual heroes as part of the new Valiants Memorial.
Unveiling the statues less than a week before Remembrance Day, Governor-General Michaëlle Jean said honouring the valiants will add an appreciation to the sacrifices Canadian soldiers are currently making in Afghanistan.
"Today, our Canadian Forces are again involved in a war," she told the crowd gathered yesterday. "For the first time in many years, Canadians have been forced to come to terms with the harsh realities of armed conflict. For all of us, this is a painful, troubling experience. Yet it has renewed our sense of responsibility toward other peoples in other countries."
The Valiants Memorial is meant not only to commemorate 14 men and women who showed remarkable courage but to honour all Canadians who have served their country in war.
The valiants are divided into five groups: the French Regime (1534-1763), the American Revolution (1775-1783), the War of 1812 (1812-1814), the First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945).
Although five of the 14 fought against Americans (including Lieutenant-Colonel John Butler, who is viewed as a murderous villain by some U.S. historians), the new monument was praised yesterday by U.S. ambassador David Wilkins, who took in the ceremony.
"I think it's a great tribute to Canadian history, Canadian heritage and the value of men and women in uniform," he said.
Arthur William Currie, 59, said he was very proud to see the statue of his grandfather, First World War general Arthur Currie, receive a prominent place in the memorial.
"I hope everybody in Canada, when they visit the national capital, gets a chance to come and view these valiants and go home and do a little bit of research," he said. "I hope it makes people more proud of who we are and where we came from."
The Valiants Memorial
The five statues and nine busts unveiled next to the National War Memorial yesterday depict:
--Louis Comte de Frontenac, the legendary governor of New France who withstood a British siege at Quebec in 1690.
--Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville, who fought the British in Hudson Bay in the 1690s.
-- Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chief and warrior who sided with the British in the Revolutionary War and brought his people north afterward to settle.
- -John Butler, the lieutenant-colonel who raised a militia regiment, Butler's Rangers, to fight for the British in the American Revolution.
-- Sir Isaac Brock, the general who staved off a U.S. invasion in the War of 1812 and died at the battle of Queenston Heights.
--Charles-Michel d'Irumberry de Salaberry, who blocked a U.S. invasion at Chateauguay in 1813.
--Laura Secord, who brought word of an impending U.S. attack to British forces in 1813.
--Georgina Pope, the pioneering army nurse who served in the Boer War and the First World War.
-- Sir Arthur Currie, the general who was the first Canadian commander of the First World War Canadian Corps and led it to some of its greatest triumphs.
--Corporal Joseph Kaeble, who won a posthumous Victoria Cross for valour in June, 1918.
-- Lieutenant Hampton Gray, the flier with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm who was the last Canadian to win a Victoria Cross. He was honoured posthumously for an attack on a Japanese destroyer in which the warship was sunk and Gray was killed.
--Captain John Wallace Thomas, the Newfoundland merchant mariner and captain of the liner Empress of Scotland who saved his vessel and the troops she carried with skillful manoeuvres under air attack in 1940.
--Major Paul Triquet, who won a Victoria Cross in Italy in 1943.
-- Pilot Officer Andy Mynarski, who won a Victoria Cross posthumously for trying to save a comrade trapped in a burning bomber over France.