Caledon Public Library is proud to be part of Canada’s Week of Remembrance and is presenting its annual An Afternoon of Remembrance on Monday, November 10th at 1 pm at the Albion Bolton Branch.
Every year, the public is invited to gather at the library to remember the men and women who served and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace, specifically the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and all conflicts in which members of the Canadian military have participated.
This year, we are honoured to welcome guest speaker Gary Westlake, a long time Caledon resident, who will share his story and how his family’s tragic loss affected his own life more than 50 years later.
On June 7, 1944, during the offensive on Authie, a small village in Normandy, George Westlake, age 23, lost his life in the shadow of a small apple orchard. On June 11, 1944, a few miles away at Mesnil-Patry , his brothers, Albert and Tommy Westlake, age 26 and 29 respectively, died in each other’s arms. Three young men from one west-end Toronto family, who died within days of each other and who now lie in the same cemetery amidst thousands of others who gave their lives for freedom.
Their nephew, Gary, was determined that his uncles not be forgotten and spent countless hours and incredible energy to ensure that they were recognized here at home. “I just wanted people to talk about them and remember their sacrifice,” he said. “What happened to them is real, not fiction.” It took over a decade of badgering and determined letter writing before he ultimately succeeded. Westlake Memorial Park was dedicated in 1996 and every year since then, witnessed by family and supporters, the last post is played at exactly 3 pm on November 11.
Caledon Public Library encourages everyone to come out to An Afternoon of Remembrance. A special invitation has been extended to local high schools in the hope that many students will also attend. Caledon Public Library is proud to offer this opportunity to our community’s youth so that they understand and learn to appreciate what those who served their country in times of peace, armed conflict and war stood for and what they sacrificed.
We all have a responsibility to remember and gratitude is a lesson worth learning at any age.