Kimberley Veterans Memorial Park opened
Several hundred people encircled the new Kimberley Veterans Memorial Park Saturday morning, July 8, to take part in a special unveiling, blessing and opening of city’s news cenotaph.
Located on the site of a former gas station, the Kimberley Veterans Memorial Park was a two-year labour of love of the Military Ames veterans support group. The memorial also suffered from vandalism in November 2016, causing delays for the opening.
The ceremony featured a veterans’ parade into the park, speeches by dignitaries and people involved in the establishment of the $300,000 granite memorial, commemorating Canada’s World Wars participation as well as our peacekeeping efforts. It also pays homage to Canada’s Vietnam War veterans, a fact saluted by visiting Vietnam veterans from Montana. About 30,000 Canadians volunteer to fight in Vietnam between 1968 and 1973, with 134 known killed.
City of Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick saluted Military Ames for its members’ efforts, noting the property on which sat an old gas station at 170 Wallinger had now become a centrepiece in the community. He also noted the city was well past due for a new cenotaph as the one across from the Legion had become a parking lot.
The city donated the land for the memorial while Military Ames members, led by Cindy Postnikoff, fundraised and worked on making this beautifully detailed salute to our veterans become a reality.
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok singled out several key volunteers, including Postnikoff, urging applause. Several project contributors were also recognized by Military Ames.
The community celebration wasn’t without mishap, as two people fainted from the scorching heat, including a flag bearer. Kimberley Fire Department personnel attending the ceremony promptly responded. While fellow flag-bearers tried to keep their peer on his feet, he eventually had to be seated, again, his peers providing shade and support.
The unveiling of a memorial to veterans’ sacrifices and courage, and ongoing struggles from PTSD, provided a real-time glimpse at the honour and brotherhood and sisterhood of those in uniform.
– Ian Cobb/e-KNOW
– Photos by Carrie Schafer and Ian Cobb/e-KNOW