Nfld. & Labrador

Homecoming statue unveiled in honour of Royal Newfoundland Regiment at Bannerman Park

Morgan MacDonald's latest project shows a father and daughter reuniting after the war.

Ahead of Memorial Day, City of St. John's unveils Morgan MacDonald's latest monument

Morgan MacDonald says it took him around a year to complete his latest sculpture Homecoming. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

There's no shortage of monuments and commemorative statues dedicated to the fallen Newfoundland soldiers who fought at Beaumont Hamel, but the latest tribute does something a little different — it recognizes the men who came home.

St. John's Mayor Danny Breen unveiled artist Morgan MacDonald's latest statue Homecoming on Saturday at Bannerman Park with help from several young students from Beatrix Potter Elementary in London, U.K.

"To see this in the park today, the people that are here to see the kids from Beatrix Potter, it's so fantastic. It's really heartwarming to see it," said MacDonald, an acclaimed N.L. artist.

These students from the United Kingdom who tend the graves of Newfoundlanders who died in the First World War are visiting for Memorial Day. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

The students were visiting the province for the first time since learning all about the First World War through their work tending the graves of 18 Newfoundlanders who died during the conflict.

Hundreds attended unveiling

A crowd of several hundred braved the rain to see the statue unveiled, one that MacDonald says is a testament to the people in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

These men stand guard in Bannerman Park on Saturday. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

"When these men came home, a lot of them were wounded, a lot of them quite literally had shrapnel in their bodies for the rest of their lives that couldn't be removed," he said.

"That's not even to mention what they called back then 'shell shock,' which is [known as] PTSD today."

Homecoming depicts a solider reuniting with a loved one.

"The thought was a softer image, a less militaristic image, something [like] a little girl seeing her father come home."

He hopes that people will come to the park and take in the statue for many, many more years to come.

"It's in such a lovely location, Bannerman Park, you couldn't wish for anything better," MacDonald said.

Mayor Danny Breen addresses the crowd at the statue unveiling in Bannerman Park. (Andrew Sampson/CBC)

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