Siblings plant tree idea
Brookswood siblings Elizabeth and Michael Pratt have embarked on a campaign to ensure that Langley will forever remember the 157 Canadians who died while serving in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2011.
The Pratts are part of Langley Youth for the Fallen (LYF), which is looking for 150 sponsors who will help buy trees for a memorial grove honouring the fallen soldiers.
“This is the first step in our dream for Langley to commemorate the Canadian soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan,” said 14-year-old Michael.
Among the sponsors already committed to the project are the Aldergrove Credit Union, JD Farms, Rotary Club of Aldergrove, Rotary Club of Langley, Arboretum and Botanical Society of Langley, David and Nora Truman, and MP Mark Warawa and his wife, Diane.
The pair’s presentation to council last week (Oct. 3) was met with applause, and a commitment from several politicians to contribute financially to the cause.
The Township has taken on an administration role in the initiative, as well as making the land available in the Derek Doubleday Arboretum near Langley Regional Airport.
It is also working with a landscape architect to design the memorial grove, walking path and a cenotaph.
Elizabeth, a recent Brookswood Secondary graduate who is now a student at UBC, is a co-founder of LYF with her brother, who is in Grade 9 at Brookswood Secondary.
“We wanted to do something to show that the youth of Langley support our armed forces and in particular those who have paid the ultimate price,” she said.
“We like the idea of planting trees as they symbolize life. Through each of these trees, each soldier lives on.”
The pair told council the memorial grove will boost tourism, provide another stop for school field trips, encourage physical activity, help the environment and instill a sense of patriotism.
It would also encourage young people to become involved in the youth-driven project.
Langley Youth for the Fallen: A Walk to Remember, is looking for sponsors and would like to hear from interested businesses, service groups, elementary, middle and high schools, scout and guide groups, and cadets.
The cost of sponsoring a tree is $300. Inquiries can be directed to LangleyYouthForTheFallen@gmail.com, or visit their Facebook page.