The caribou was the emblem chosen to represent the First Battalion of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, in 1914.
The timing and significance of the reveal was fitting, as Sunday marked the 96th anniversary of the battle, that killed most of the 801 Regiment members that fought that day.
The sculptor behind the piece, Corner Brook native Morgan MacDonald, said it is a humbling and honouring experience to create the piece.
“It’s not enough to sculpt a caribou,” MacDonald said. “You have to capture the essence of the original piece.”
MacDonald’s work is a replica of the caribou memorial statue erected at Beaumont Hamel, France.
The caribou is an iconic symbol of courage, he said, that should never be forgotten.
“It’s more than just a caribou,” he said.
Veteran Garfield Thomas said the caribou is especially significant to him.
When he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy in 1953, we was assigned to the HMCS Caribou.
“Every time I pass the caribou statue now,” he said. “I will always think about the men and women who fought overseas for the freedom we have.”
The statue honours the city’s current and past soldiers who have risked their lives in war.
This piece is one of three statues initiated by the Remembrance Square Forget Me Not Campaign to spruce up the area.
Two other statues, also created by MacDonald, will be unveiled in the square around Remembrance Day.
The total project will cost around $400,000 dollars and has been in the works since March 2011.
The project is funded by corporate and private donors.