A dedicated group of Zorra Township residents saw the realization of their dream this past weekend, with the celebration of the launch of a new website located at www.heroesofzorra.ca.
The website, at present, details the military service — in conflicts stretching from the War of 1812 all the way to Canada’s ongoing contribution to the current war in Afghanistan — of 962 Zorra Township residents.
And that’s only two-thirds of the township; committees in two of the pre-existing townships which make up Zorra —East Nissouri and West Zorra — have already published comprehensive history books, from which much of the information about veterans was taken for the website. The third pre-amalgamation township, North Oxford, is scheduled to see its history book published by 2015. That should add information from hundreds of more veterans to www.heroesofzorra.ca.
Plus, website committee members encourage everyone to submit further names of veterans if they have them.
“This is Zorra’s small way of saying ‘thank you’,” explained volunteer committee co-chair Shirley McCall Hanlon, Saturday, Aug. 17 in a tent outside St. Andrew’s United Church in Brooksdale — venue for the weekend-long launch. Saturday’s events also included a Civil War re-enactment; events on Friday included educational sessions for kids, and there was a special worship service and plaque dedication on Sunday.
The plaque pays tribute to Benjamin Franklin Youngs, a Brooksdale native — and distant relative of both McCall Hanlon and committee co-chair Roy Youngs — who earned a Medal of Honor for capturing the Confederate Flag for the North during the American Civil War’s Battle of Petersburg. According to McCall Hanlon, the attendance by several Zorra Township residents at a 2010 ceremony in California marking the achievements of Benjamin Franklin Youngs served as a catalyst for the Heroes of Zorra website.
Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman and MP Dave MacKenzie both spoke at Saturday’s ceremony. Earlier in the week, MacKenzie announced funding for the project under the federal government’s Community Engagement Partnership Fund.
It was Zorra Township Mayor Margaret Lupton, however, who was most glowing in her praise, calling the website “a fitting and exceptionally well-presented memorial honouring our veterans.”