Canada’s National War Memorial sits a few hundred meters from the center of Canada’s capital in Ottawa, and is a large, granite and bronze memorial arch. Bill Kernohan of ParLUGment has done a fantastic job of recreating one of Canada’s most important monuments, capturing the bronze-cast soldiers marching through the arch, with allegorical depictions of Peace and Freedom perched atop – values with which these soldiers blessed the world.
Of creating this model, Bill writes – “The National War Memorial is a beautiful and imposing structure in the heart of Canada’s Capital. I was impacted by the fatal shooting of Corporal Nathan Cirillo in October of 2014, and felt I needed to pay tribute but I was unsure at what scale to build it in.” As evidenced by the final model, a minifigure-sized build truly does justice in tastefully recreating both the monument and the bronze figures, and in turn, manages to honour the majesty of the memorial and tell the tale of sacrifice that Canada’s soldiers have made.
The monument was originally designed by English designer Vernon March in 1925, and selected as the winner in 1926 following a year long search featuring over 100 designs submitted from around the world. Named, “The Great Response of Canada,” Vernon felt that the key message of his sculpture was to visualize the sacrifice that the soldiers made headed out to war, without glorifying the war itself.
Vernon March died in 1930, however, before the memorial was completed. Fortunately, his seven siblings were able to complete the casts of the bronze figures as he designed them – though it would still be nearly a decade before the figures were united with the granite arches and displayed in 1938, and finally dedicated in 1939.
Though the memorial was originally only dedicated to the soldiers of The Great War, it was later re-dedicated in 1982 to include the dates of the Second World War as well as the Korean War. In 2000, following the repatriation of the remains of a soldier who died fighting near Vimy Ridge in France, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was incorporated into the memorial. Then in 2014, the memorial was once again re=dedicated to include the dates of the Second Boer War, as well as the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan from 2001-2014.
On October 22, 2014 – a few weeks before the 2014 re-dedication that took place on Remembrance Day – a gunman armed with a rifle, shot at the sentries on duty at the memorial, and fatally wounded Corporal Nathan Cirillo, before engaging in a gunfight in the Centre Block of Canada’s Parliament and being stopped by the Sargeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, Kevin Vickers.
Every November 11th, as part of Remembrance Day memorials across the nation, Canadians gather to honour the fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. It has been mentioned that in recent years, the National War Memorial in Ottawa has been drawing record crowds. No doubt, these people, like Bill, are touched by the sacrifice made by all soldiers serving at home and abroad for our peace and freedom.