— Josh Hoffman (@JoNoHoffman) July 8, 2017
Hundreds gathered in downtown Kimberley this weekend for the unveiling of the city’s new Veteran Memorial Park.
A three piece cenotaph that includes 24 names of local residents who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country was revealed at the corner of Wallinger Ave. and Spokane St. Saturday morning.
Veterans from both Canada and the US attended the ceremony, along with a crowd made up of old and young.
91 year old veteran Fred Vamvton served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1941-46 during WWII.
Vamvton chuckles as he admits he was too young to really understand what they were getting themselves into.
He points to the one piece of the cenotaph dedicated to those who fought in WWII and laughs as he says that one belongs to him.
Vamvton, who was 19 when he first left for war, conducted missions in the north Atlantic, English Channel, and Mediterranean.
The local military Ames, spearheaded by local resident Cindy Postnikoff, spent the last two years garnering community support and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fundraising.
A mother of a veteran who served in Bosnia, Postnikoff says the entire project was driven by heart and it was an honour to see it all come together.
She adds to have so many veterans in attendance and be able to celebrate them is what the memorial is all about.
Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick was incredibly impressed by the vision and persistence of Postnikoff and local veterans.
McCormick says they stuck to their plan for two years straight despite facing scrutiny from the community at times.
Two of the three pillars that make up the new cenotaph are dedicated to those who served in WWI and WWII.
However, Postnikoff also believes the monument is the first in the country to recognize the 30,000 Canadian Vietnam veterans.
John Burgess is President of Chapter 1087 of the Vietnam Veterans of American in northwest Montana.
Burgess explains when they learned this monument was being created they made it a goal to come up here and be apart of the ceremony.
He says they want Canada to know they haven’t forgot about the service of their troops.
Burgess says US vets are so dedicated to their Canadian counterparts whose sacrifice was much greater than their own because they were ridiculed by their own country as well as the United States.
Postnikoff notes, no matter when or where our veterans served, we owe them the benefit of our kids being able to walk to school safely and not fear for their lives.
– WWII Veteran Fred Vamvton