Monument to commemorate New Brunswick's military personnel

A new monument dedicated to New Brunswick's military is going to be unveiled on the Saint John waterfront on Saturday.

"The gun is really here to represent all those New Brunswick heroes who have served … whether it's soldiers or sailors or aviators," said John Irving, a former honorary colonel of the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment. 

"New Brunswickers have done their duty overseas in both wartime and in peacekeeping for centuries."

The event is being hosted by the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, otherwise known as the Loyal Company, which originated in Saint John in 1793.

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The new monument was designed by Saint John architect Malcolm Boyd and features sandbags circling a retired 105 mm howitzer that was used by the regiment in the 1960s and '70s. Locations of battles, like Europe and Asia, are also engraved on blocks around the monument. 

"This monument, which is called "Standing Ready," is as a sort of reminder of how long the regiment and New Brunswick stood ready to defend New Brunswick and Canada," said Steve Strachan, former commanding officer of 3rd Field Regiment and the chair of the monument committee.

Workers from Irving-owned companies, including Source Atlantic, FCC Construction and Stresscon, have been working on the monument, which is located on land donated by Port Saint John.

The gunner sits near Long Wharf and another monument dedicated to 158 soldiers who died in Afghanistan. 

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It was originally going to be located near Fort La Tour but after discovering some artifacts from the 1600s during excavation, the committee decided to find another location.

"The regiment has been here defending the City of Saint John for a long time, so it's fitting that the gun is here at the mouth of the harbour," Strachan said, adding that it's a better location because it will be the first thing people coming off ships will see. 

The monument was expected to be completed by June 6 for the 75th anniversary of D-Day but because the committee had to find a new location, the unveiling had to be pushed back. 

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But now the monument will be ready for Remembrance Day and will still commemorate D-Day.

The monument has a special feature — the direction of the gun can be changed.

"If we have a ceremony, we can rotate the gun to the direction of that battle and for this ceremony, we're going to point the gun in the direction of Europe to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day," Strachan said.