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The Western Star
CAPE ST. GEORGE, N.L. – When Stella Cornect takes a seat at the Veterans’ Memorial Square in Cape St. George, she feels she’s in a place of solace.
“I feel so relaxed, it’s really a relaxing place,” she says of the square now dedicated to those who were involved in the First World War, Second World War and Korean War, where their names are etched in granite.
She said it gives her peace to sit there because from reading their stories in Bill O’Gorman’s Lest We Forget books, she is aware of what the soldiers went through.
“But they’re at peace now and I believe knowing that brings me peace,” Cornect said.
While she chaired the Lest We Forget committee, which carried out the rededication from a town square to the Veterans’ Memorial Square on July 1, the project was very close to her due to some names on the monuments.
The closest was her dad – Charlie Angus Duffy – who enlisted on Dec. 8, 1939, then after six months enlisted in the British Army. He was overseas for almost seven years, fighting in Italy and in the Africa campaign.
Cornect said her dad was poisoned with war and bitter about what it did to people. He didn’t want anything to do with it after, even though his three sons enlisted and followed in his footsteps.
Duffy died on Easter Sunday (April 3) 1988 at the age of 73.
“Dad felt the Department of Veterans Affairs weren’t doing enough after the war for those who came home, but thought it would probably help later,” she said.
In addition to her dad, her uncles John Duffy and Mike Duffy were also in the Second World War, as was her father-in-law Roderick Cornect and his brothers Gordon Cornect and Algernon Cornect.
Her husband’s uncle, Robert Cornect, was in the Korean War and still lives in Cape St. George.
The First World War monument contains the name of her husband’s grandfather, Cpl. Eugene Cornect, one of the 68 men who answered the call after the Battle of Beaumont Hamel. He was one of the Blue Puttees.
Cornect said the town councils of Cape St. George, over the years, felt it was important to erect a regional monument to honour all the veterans from Romain’s Brook on out.
She said funding for Veterans’ Memorial Square came from Veterans’ Affairs, a job creation project, with the Town of Cape St. George footing the remainder of the bill.
Cornect said a fourth monument will be erected at the site featuring the wording Veterans’ Memorial Square and the dates of each war.
During the rededication, Henry Gaudon, emcee and a retired military serviceman, said the site was being dedicated as a sacred place where people will gather to take pictures, veterans will gather to share experiences or just stand or sit alone to ponder thoughts they can never share with anyone.
“Use this memorial as a place to heal your very soul,” he said.