KIMBERLEY — On June 24, Kimberley residents noticed that something was missing from their Veterans Memorial Park after vandals removed 12 memorial plaques and damaged another. The plaques contained facts about Canada’s historical contribution to global conflicts, and acted as a local memorial for those from the region who gave their lives in world wars and other conflicts.
“It was so sad to hear about this senseless act of vandalism,” said CUPE BC Secretary-Treasurer Trevor Davies. “Objects can be replaced, but these memorials were more than objects, they represented the lives sacrificed by Canadians, and the families who lost loved ones as a result.”
Many of the plaques removed were donated to the park in support of military families. One memorial in particular, the Peace Keepers plaque, was donated by a veteran and is considered irreplaceable. The CUPE BC donation, $10,000 to the local veterans group Military Ames, will make a substantial contribution to creating new plaques to adorn the park.
“Our members know how important it is to recognize the sacrifice and contributions of our fallen and veterans, especially in small communities where the losses were so great and the resources to maintain these memorials is limited,” said Davies.
CUPE BC represents over 104,000 public employees in British Columbia and is the province’s largest union. CUPE members work in local government, public education, colleges and universities, transportation, community health, emergency services and libraries in all parts of the province, including many communities across the East Kootenay region.
About the Kimberley Veterans Memorial Park
The Park opened in July 2017 as a result of efforts of the local group Military Ames and the City of Kimberley who had rezoned the land for park use. The Government of Canada’s National Inventory of War Memorials describes the features of the Park, which includes a “Cenotaph, two Memorial Walls, a border of boulders that represent strength, and a direct descendant Vimy Oak.” The layout of the Park depicts a Celtic cross when viewed overhead, and according to the park’s description, “each four points of the cross contains an embedded flagstone from the decommissioned cenotaph, representing a compass to guide the souls of the fallen home.”