The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Quebec was legally incorporated on April 3rd 1989. Its main objective was to erect a Monument for Canadians who served and those who died in Vietnam.
The first Welcome Parade for the Canadian Vietnam Veterans was held in St-Bernard-de-Lacolle , Quebec in 1988 close to the Canadian-American border. Over two hundred people participate to this parade; American Vietnam Veterans and their surroundings honour twenty-five Canadian Vietnam Veterans from Quebec and Ontario.
A local Canadian Legion chapter takes part in the parade bringing Canadian Vietnam Veterans their support and their encouragement to the erection of a Monument.
A U.S. Army regiment from Fort Drum , N.Y. along with a U.S. Air Force honour guard from Plattsburgh, N.Y. take part in the parade. Mrs Violet (Pannozzani) Parker, Director of Foreign Affairs Operations, also attends the parade as the Canadian Veteran Affairs Minister.
The City of St-Bernard-de-Lacolle gives its main Street the following new name "le Chemin des Vétérans" in honour of the Vietnam Veterans. Unfortunately, the Monument is not erected in this city but in the city of Côte Sainte-Catherine . Less than six months after the erection of the Monument, the city of St-Bernard-de-Lacolle gives back the main Street its original name.
The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Quebec is registered as a non-lucrative organization with the Quebec Lottery Commission. The Association holds a raffle as a fund-raising campaign. Some problems and unexpected expenses bring the Association with a debt of 8000$.
Gilles Sauvé, V.-P. sells Jacques Gendron the idea to sign for a loan for a motorcycle, a Harley Davidson, in order to finance and pay their debts. The first year, the AVVQ collects 33 000$ for the Harley Davidson lottery, what they have continued to do since.
In October 1989, at Côte Sainte-Catherine, the Memorial Monument inscribes the following: "Dedicated to those who served, those who died and those who are missing in action".
Five years later, the municipal council of the city of Côte Sainte-Catherine advises the CVVQ that their monument has to be transferred to another site because of the expansion of their city hall. The CVVQ finally finds a new resting place for the Monument, which is located in Melocheville Quebec.
The new site needs considerable digging for laying the foundation of its Monument. Through summer weekends, the CVVQ members and its volunteers dig into five tons of rock, level 400 tons of earth, seed grass, install masonry and erect a concrete base for the monument.
On October 15th 1994, the new site for the monument of the CVVQ in Melocheville Quebec is now ready for its new rededication. Close to 2000 people are present for this important ceremony, which resembles the Canadian ceremonies held during the Armistice day. The ceremonial lasts two hours and at precisely 3 o'clock, we could hear the familiar Kiowa helicopter sound from the St-Hubert airport approaching for a low fly over. Dominic Rotondo was responsible for that wonderful surprise!
Melocheville now harbours the first memorial Monument of The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Quebec. Since then, every month of July a Vigil ceremony takes place at the Monument site and during that same weekend, we go across the border.
In 1993, the CVVQ decides to take part in the parade on Armistice day in Montreal , but, the Canadian Legion officers refuse our participation. A friend and supporter from Massachusets, Bob Bolduc, encourages the Veterans to join the parade. The CVVQ is then given permission to do so; late on the evening of November 10 th , the Legion officers contact the president of the CVVQ, Jacques Gendron, in order to give them permission to walk in the parade providing we respect two conditions:
Those two conditions are: 1) The Vietnam Veterans have to walk behind the parade and beyond all the other participants, non-veterans included. 2) The CVVQ has to lay its funeral wreath on the side of the cenotaph monument of Montreal. We more less agree on those conditions and someone transfers the wreath; after lunch someone else puts it in front of the cenotaph.
The Canadian Vietnam Veterans cannot become honorary members of the Royal Canadian Legion. In June of 1994, during the National Administration Congress, someone proposes that we allow Canadian Vietnam Veterans to join the Royal Canadian Legion as of October 1994.
In June of 1996, the Canadian War Museum adds a small exhibit of the Vietnam War. Through the Vietnam Veterans, the Canadian people discover more on their history within the Canadian and American military services.
Then on October 27, 2018, at a meeting presided over by Stéphane Corbeil, President of CVVQ, it was proposed by Serge Litalien and seconded by Louis Lemire that the CVVQ erect a monument with the names of the 146 Canadians who served in the American Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and who lost their lives. Jacques Gendron and Gilles Sauvé are busy planning an extraordinary fundraising campaign and on July 12, 2019, the monument is inaugurated in the presence of many dignitaries.
Today, the CVVQ participates in many other activities such as Rolling Thunder in Washington DC, held in May of each year and also in other ceremonies and outings.
Please take note of the following literature in regards to the Vietnam Canadian Veterans :
Unknown Warriors by Fred Gaffen
I Volunteered - Canadian Vietnam Vets Remember by Tracey Arial
Cross Border Warriors By Fred Gaffen
Books in which you will learn a bit more about those Canadians and Americans who crossed the border in order to join the U.S. Army during the Civil War, the First & Second World Wars, Korea and Vietnam.