Community volunteers and residents broke ground at Uplands Park in Hammonds Plains on Saturday for the area's new veterans monument. 

The project, led by the Greater Hammonds Plains-Lucasville Cenotaph committee, has taken more than 14 months of fundraising, paperwork and planning.

"Working with the city does take time, but we're very, very satisfied that this project will be completed," said organizer Pamela Lovelace.

Construction of a road through Uplands Park to the cenotaph site began on Friday. The foundation of the cenotaph will be laid soon, and will take two weeks to cure before the cenotaph can be constructed.

'Lest We Forget' translated to 'Mikwite'Imanej'

All the pieces of the 5.5-metre tall structure have been built and just need to be assembled, Lovelace said. 

That is, except for one special detail, provided by partners from Acadia First Nation.

"[They're] creating this medicine pouch, specifically for this venture. And that medicine pouch will be placed inside the granite of the cenotaph," Lovelace explained. 

"That's in recognition of the healing that's needed, not only for veterans, but also for families of veterans as well." 

A Mi'kmaq translation of Lest We Forget — Mikwite'Imanej — was provided by Acadia First Nation and will be etched into one side of the structure. 

There will also be educational stones put in along the path to the cenotaph.

Community support

Hammonds Plains started to hold its own Remembrance Day cenotaph ceremonies five years ago.

The committee had hoped to get the cenotaph built by Remembrance Day 2015 because the year before, around 2000 people showed up.

"Here in Hammonds Plains and Lucasville, we have a lot of veterans," Lovelace said. 

"We have a lot of folks who are currently serving and as well, we have strong sea cadets, army cadets and air cadets, so we wanted to make sure that we recognize the families as well." 

The cenotaph project was budgeted at $170,000. Halifax Regional Council committed up to $75,000. Veterans Affairs Canada pledged $40,000. A $10,000 private donation came from Vernon Kynock, whose landscaping company will be building a road through the park to the cenotaph site. 

Councillors Brad Johns, Tim Outhit and Matt Whitman have committed funds as well, Lovelace said.

The cenotaph should be completed by the end of March.

Hammonds Plains cenotaph

A design of Hammonds Plains's cenotaph, which will be 5.5 metres high. (Heritage Memorials)