The high quality granite — the arrival of which delayed the construction of Kimberley’s new cenotaph this past fall — is now in Ontario and construction of the monument is underway.
And while the new Veterans Memorial Park area in Kimberley’s downtown lies under a blanket of snow, work, especially fundraising, goes on.
“It’s very exciting,” said Military Ames facilitator Cindy Postnikoff.
“I’m really glad we waited for the solid granite. It’s going to be beautiful.”
The new monument, when complete, will weight 33,000 pounds and will be shipped to Kimberley om a crate on a low bed truck. Postnikoff says it will remain crated on site until it’s unveiled, likely in early summer.
The base for the monument was finished last fall, and stones from the old cenotaph near the former Legion building have been embedded in it.
The work was done by the Military Ames veterans.
“There will be a ceremony sometime this summer to decommission the old cenotaph,” Postnikoff said. “It will be done by a group of veterans and open to the public.”
It is important, she notes, that every step of this project is done keeping the meaning of a cenotaph in mind. One of the features of Kimberley’s new cenotaph Postnikoff is most pleased about is that it will recognize Canadian soldiers who crossed the line and signed up to serve in Vietnam.
“It will be the only cenotaph in Canada that recognizes those soldiers. There were thousands of them who served and many Canadian names are on the wall of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC. It was one of the worst combat experiences for vets and we wanted them to get some recognition.”
As soon as the snow melts, Postnikoff says the first step in sidewalks and landscaping.
“There are underground sprinklers and sod to put in, flag poles to install and we have the tenders out for the entrance gate and sidewalks. And of course, we have to keep fundraising.
“We are waiting on a few grants, if they don’t come through we will have to really hustle.”
However, Military Ames has been successful with many grant applications as the project has gained almost universal support. The final cost of the new park and cenotaph will be about $200,000.
“We don’t want to cheap out on anything. Veterans deserve the best. We’d rather wait.”
For instance, she says that the group knows what it wants with the entrance sign and gate. If they can’t afford it immediately, they will fundraise until they can afford it. And that doesn’t put Postnikoff off at all.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge going in. But I’ve loved every minute of it and I’m so excited to see it finished.”
One of the fundraising initiatives is granite, memorial benches for the Park. Postnikoff is pleased to say that there are now only two left. If you’d like to memorialize a particular veteran or if you’d simply like to purchase a bench in honour of those who served, contact Cindy at 250-919-3137.