There were many smiles and nods of appreciation, but the guy with the broadest grin at the rededication of the cenotaph on Oct. 26 was Todd Puzey.

It was Puzey who mulled over the idea for several years before bringing it forward to officials of the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. He had seen stunning memorials in large and small centres alike that put ours to shame and believed the park should be designed in such a manner as to encourage regular use and become an important and lasting landmark in the community. Now, just a year later, the first phase of that dream is a reality.

In front of a crowd of about 100 people. Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell, aided by Cochrane Mayor Jeff Genung, unveiled the bronze that stands high on a revitalized granite below, complemented by new flag stands on either side.

Wearing her Vimy scarf and a Poppy over her heart, Lt.-Gov. Mitchell said the memorial park is an important place to gather and remember sacrifices made by countless men and women. She said every name on the cenotaph are those of heroes who should be remembered.

"It's important for every community to have a place where citizens can gather to honour our fallen heroes. There have been countless men and women in uniforms that sacrificed their lives so that generations of Canadians can enjoy the rare privilege of living in a safe  and a free and a peaceful country."

"This beautiful monument, I can hardly wait to see it, is a reminder of all that they have saved on our behalf."

She was particularly pleased to see the sculpture honour our Vimy Ridge heroes of a century ago.

"We can never ever forget the sacrifices that occurred at Vimy Ridge, and then went on to defined us as a nation."

She praised Cochrane as a community with a strong sense of giving back and said she feels it everytime she visits.

"I trust that this cenotaph will stand as a place of reflection and remembrance for many more generations to come. I hope this enhanced park will encourage other people to stop to remember our fallen and give thanks for their essential contribution to our country."

Master of ceremonies David Usherwood, who chaired the cenotaph committee and is1st vice-president of the local Royal Canadian Legion branch, praised the many who made it possible. A strong committee was established and in a relatively short period of time $136,000 was raised.

Many have contributed financially to the project and each and every one, large or small, has been appreciated and vital to the completion of the cenotaph, says Usherwood.

The existing cenotaph of about 35 years was re-engineered and flawlessly reconfigured by Terry Norman, of OnGrowing Works, with matching granite from Quebec to hold the 800 lb. statue. Dark shading on the sides of a cement inlay and colour corrected cement pads for the two new flag stands pulls the whole package together. In combination they bring further attention to the names of those etched into the granite. The bronze by itself is a magnificent seven-foot portrayal of a First World War soldier in a memorial stance created by Don and Shirley Begg and their internationally acclaimed Studio West Bronze Foundry.

The Legion will continue it's fund raising drive for phase two they hope to begin next spring.