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MIís Merchant Navy Memorial ceremony celebrates 12th anniversary

Marine Institute Executive Director Glenn Blackwood speaks at the Merchant Navy Memorial anniversary ceremony. Dr. Reeta Tremblay and Premier Danny Williams also spoke at the event.

By Darcy McRae

The Marine Institute hosted a special ceremony Aug. 26 to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the unveiling of a Merchant Navy Memorial at MI.
The event attracted a large crowd looking to pay tribute to the fallen Newfoundland Merchant Marines who served proudly and honourably on British, Canadian and American Merchant Navy ships during the Second World War.

Among those in the crowd were Merchant Navy veterans and their families, as well as families of those Merchant Navy seamen who died during the war.
“The Marine Institute’s motto, Strive for Excellence, was originally exemplified by Merchant Marines throughout World War II,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute. “The Merchant Marines had leadership abilities that knew no bounds, and we hope to emulate their heroic efforts and sacrifices in the way we educate and train young men and women from Newfoundland and Labrador and from across Canada.

“If we can display a similar type of vigour, pride and selflessness, we will honour the very men and women whose names are engraved on this memorial.”

The ceremony was hosted by Captain J.J. Strong, national vice-president Eastern Canada and national director for Newfoundland and Labrador for the Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans Association. Along with Mr. Blackwood, speakers at the ceremony included Premier Danny Williams, Lee Marshall of the Department of Veterans Affairs, St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe, and Dr. Reeta Tremblay, Memorial’s vice-president, academic.

The Merchant Navy Memorial was unveiled at MI on August 29, 1997 in honour of the 333 Merchant Newfoundland seamen who lost their lives during the battles of World War II. It was later expanded to include the 337 names of those Newfoundlanders who died serving in the Canadian, American and Royal British navies during the Second World ­­War.