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November 11 bicentennial service at Crysler Memorial

News - November 6, 2013 Edition

MORRISBURG —  

UPPER CANADA VILLAGE – The Friends of the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield, a group of volunteers dedicated to preserving the memory of this important military action, invites the public to a bicentenary remembrance service on November 11 at the battlefield memorial adjacent to Upper Canada Village. 

Residents from throughout the district are invited to attend  and are asked to assemble at 12:30 p.m. at the Battlefield Memorial adjacent to Upper Canada Village.

Taking part in the ceremony will two Canadian Forces reserve units, the SD&G Highlanders, along with their regimental pipeband, and les Voltigeurs de Québec – both of which received battle honours earlier this year for their ancestral units’ role in turning back the American invasion of 1813.

Also to part of the commemoration are the The Canadian Fencibles, 49th Regiment of Foot and the 1st Grenville Militia – re-creations of regiments that fought at Crysler’s Farm and First Nations representatives, to commemorate the participation of these allies of the Crown.

Long before the eleventh of November became an international day of remembrance, it was a sombre anniversary for those in Eastern Ontario – and indeed Canada. 

On that day in 1813, British and Canadian forces numbering 1,200 defeated an invading American force of some 4,000 men on the muddy fields adjacent to John Crysler’s farm, near present day Morrisburg.

If we had not won at Crysler’s Farm, Canada would not be the country we have come to know.

Combined with a British victory at the Battle of Chateauguay two weeks earlier, Crysler’s Farm put an end to the campaign to attack Montreal by the largest concentration of American forces prior to the U.S. Civil War. 

It was by far the most important event locally in a war that eventually ushered in an era of peace that has lasted for 200 years.

The Friends of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield will bus hundreds of grade 7 and 8 students (The War of 1812 is part of the Ontario Grade 7 history curriculum) from across Stormont and Dundas Counties to attend the service and a special presentation by Major General Lewis MacKenzie (ret) to immediately precede the remembrance service. 

Major General MacKenzie will present to local students using Crysler’s Farm as the starting point for his presentation entitled “Beware of the underdog”, focusing on flexibility, stealth and the motivation provided by defending one’s homeland, and then moving on to other Canadian examples where we were the underdog –but prevailed. 

These include Vimy Ridge in World War I, the Italian Campaign in WWII, Kapyong in Korea, the Medak Pocket in the Balkans and Madussa in Afghanistan. 

Major General MacKenzie is best known for commanding Sector Sarajevo in 1992, as part of the United Nations Protection Force  (UNPROFOR) in the former Yugoslavia . He is also well known as a media commentator on military affairs.

The public is invited to Major General Mackenzie’s presentation as well as the subsequent memorial service. Visitors are asked to assemble at 12:30 PM.

The presentation and memorial service are made possible through support from the federal Department of Canadian Heritage.

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