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OT: Newfoundland Regiment Honoured

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Newfoundland regiment honoured as monument rededicated

ST. JOHN'S, NFLD. - A monument in St. John's was rededicated on Thursday to Newfoundland's First World War sacrifices.

The monument is a statue in downtown St. John's of a caribou facing east, toward France and the battlefield of Beaumont Hamel. That's where, on July 1, 1916, 801 members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment fought a battle that only 68 survived.

The massacre came to symbolize the heavy sacrifice paid during the First World War by what was then the Dominion of Newfoundland.

"'We recognize it as a focal point in our history, just as the Canadians recognize Vimy Ridge," said historian David Parsons.

* FROM JULY 1, 2001: Ceremony commemorates fallen Newfoundland soldiers

But many today don't know why the caribou statue by the waterfall in St. John's is there.

The caribou was the symbol of the regiment. When the statue was dedicated in 1928, the crowds included wives and mothers of the soldiers buried in France.

Thursday's ceremony was attended by people generations apart from the fallen, such as Michael Bennett, whose great-uncle died at Beaumont Hamel.

"I'll be remembering, and I'll be making sure, as much as I can, that other people will remember as well," said Bennett, himself a warrant officer in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

"This is a precious thing we have. If it gets lost, if the memories fade away, then everything that happened, that whole sacrifice, is wasted."

Written by CBC News Online staff

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