Visitors at Canadian Forces Base Borden will now be greeted by a gleaming new monument dedicated to all men and women who have served the country over the past 100 years.
The Borden Legacy Monument was official unveiled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Hon.-Col. Jamie Massey in a touching ceremony at the north gate this morning.
This was billed as the "pinnacle" event in a month-long celebration of Borden's centennial anniversary.
“Today, CFB Borden celebrates a distinguished one hundred years," Trudeau said. "One hundred years of giving our brave men and women the tools they need to be effective leaders.
"A hundred years of inspiring Canadians to sere their ountry with pride and selfless dedication. A hundred years of making Canada and the world a safer place for my family and yours."
Prior to approaching the podium, Trudeau took a moment to recognize the brass urn that had been placed in the monument. The urn contains sacred soil collected last year from the battlefields of Vimy Ridge in France.
He acknowledged Canada as more than a nation of peacekeepers and peacemakers.
“The reason the world heeds Canadians is because we fought like lions in the trenches of World War I and on the fields of World War 2,” he said.
Distinguished World War 2 veteran, 102-year-old Norman Burling, carried sacred soil on the final leg of its journey, to its place in the memorial wall.
During the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April, 1917, approximately 3,600 Canadians were killed and 7,000 wounded.
“Vimy was the first time Canadians from all four divisions fought side-by-side on the battlefield,” Trudeau said. “We're here to reflect upon this service to our great country.”
Battalions trained at Camp Borden when it first opened in 1916, saw their first battlefield action at Vimy Ridge.
The scared soil will be a permanent part of the monument and a second urn will be displayed at the Military Park when it is developed on Barrie's lakeshore.
"Thank you Mr. Burling, for your service to our country," said Hon.-Col. Jamie Massey, leading a standing ovation.
Massie said the journey of the soil fulfilled a promise made by Sir Arthur Currie - words etched in the wall that will hold the soil:
"To those of you who fall, I say you will not die but step into immortality. Your mothers will not lament your fate, but will be proud to have borne such sons. Your names will be revered for ever and ever by your greatful country and God will take you unto himself."
Brig.-Gen. Carl Doyan, CFB Borden Base Commander, accepted the monument on behalf of the base.
"It is a privilege and an honour for me to accept this incredible gift from our community today," Doyan said. "Thank you, thank you and thank you so much."
11:17 a.m. update
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has arrived at CFB Borden.
10:45 a.m. original story:
Crowds have begun to assemble at CFB Borden, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to participate in the unveiling of the Borden Legacy Monument.
Trudeau is expected to address the crowd at 11 a.m.
The monument, to be located at the north entrance, was designed by local sculptor Marlene Hilton-Moore. It will be the final resting spot for a brass urn containing soil that was collected from the battlefields at Vimy Ridge in France.