GREETINGS HIGHLANDERS – SERVING SOLDIERS, FORMER MEMBERS, AND MEMBERS OF THE REGIMENTAL FAMILY –
What a privilege it was to represent our Regiment in the 2022 Remembrance Day ceremonies held in Ortona, Italy. HCol (Ret) John Newman and I stood proudly as a new plaque was dedicated, honouring the 48thHighlanders of Canada contribution in the liberation of Ortona.
During the same ceremony, HCol Newman created a significant moment in honouring fallen Indigenous soldiers with a dedication plaque, remembering their services and sacrifices.
The legacy of our Regiment is indeed lasting! It was moving to see the outpouring of support from our Italian allies. The ceremony was organized by Angela Arnone. For those of you not familiar with Angela, she is a longtime advocate of Canada’s military contributions on Italian soil. Her focus of interest has centered on the Second World War era.
Angela performed the duties of MC in which she passionately exclaimed the following:
“This monument stands in the newly named Piazza degli Eroi Canadesi, Canadian Heroes Square. From the start of his mandate, Mayor Castiglione was determined to dedicate this part of Ortona to the memory of Canada’s armed forces, that fought and died to free the civilian population. In upgrading an urban square at the heart of the community, citizens and visitors would meet here and each day the memory of young Canadians who fought in the Battle of Ortona would be evoked with the words “eroi canadesi”. Work on the square was also funded by a donation from Veterans Affairs Canada. While COVID delayed progress and a formal inauguration with Canadian guests was not possible, since 2021, Piazza degli Eroi Canadesi, with its maple leaf design, fountains, and flags, is part of Ortona life.”
The service was attended by those who had to travel from some distances away. Included are Ambassador Elissa Golberg, from the Canadian Embassy in Rome; LGen Stephen Kelsey, deputy commander of JFC Naples; Canadian Defence attaché in Rome, Capt André Boisjoli; Mrs Sandra and Eugenia Seagram Annovazzi, respectively daughter and granddaughter of Capt Philip Seagram of the 48th Highlanders of Canada. Several leading citizens were also in attendance, including Mayor Castiglione.
During the ceremony, Ambassador Golberg, HCol Newman and I laid a wreath in honour of Canadian Indigenous soldiers; and I laid a wreath with LGen Kelsey, Sandra and Eugenia Seagram Annovazzi, and HLCol Newman in honour of the 48th Highlanders of Canada (2 photos directly below).
The group then transitioned to a more traditional type of Remembrance Day ceremony. This service of Remembrance has been held annually at the Moro River Cemetery (seen in the photo directly above). HCol Newman and I appreciated this well-organized and very well attended gathering. It was heartfelt to witness first hand, the outpouring of respect for our Canadian soldiers by the local community. It overwhelmed me to think that this has occurred every past November 11th nurturing on the importance of remembering for future generations. At the end of the ceremony, Sandra and Eugenia Seagram Annovazzi presented Capt Seagram’s medals to me with the understanding that they are to be a permanent part of our museum (pictured below).
What a privilege it was to represent our Regiment, in commemorating the fallen soldiers in Italy. I was honoured to stand on behalf of you and recognize the dedicated actions of past and present members serving with the 48thHighlanders of Canada.
DILEAS GU BRATH
HCol John MacIntyre