Opinion

Editorial — Walk To Remember ceremony was touching

Sunday’s dedication of the Walk to Remember, the memorial tree-lined path honouring the 158 Canadian military personnel who laid down their lives in the 10-year Afghan conflict, was truly impressive.

The fact that this initiative was the work of two young people, Michael and Elizabeth Pratt, is the most heartwarming part of the story. These two young people are an inspiration to many. They came up with an idea and pursued it, and received support from many quarters where they didn’t expect it.

The Township of Langley deserves a great deal of credit. Township elected officials and staff saw the potential and meaning of this project and realized it would fit in well with the arboretum on the former Berry farm, just west of the Langley Airport.

Credit also goes to the volunteers of the Arboretum and Botanical Society and the Rotary clubs, who have backed this effort.  These people continue to put a lot of volunteer effort into both the overall arboretum and the Walk to Remember.

MP Mark Warawa also has backed this effort. He obtained a flag that flew over the Peace Tower in Ottawa — something that can take up to 35 years — for the flagpole at the entrance to the walk. The federal government also contributed to the touching memorial at the start of the walk, which contains the names of the 158 fallen.

The Pratts said Sunday that they hope to add the names of the Canadian civilians who lost their lives in Afghanistan during this conflict. That would be very meaningful and significant, as people from journalist Michelle Lang to workers with charities have also laid down their lives in a foreign country that often seems like a riddle to many Canadians.

The most touching aspect of Sunday’s ceremony came in remarks by Sian LeSueur, mother of Pte. Garrett Chidley. The Langley soldier was killed in Afghanistan in December, 2009.

Both he and Aldergrove reservist Master Cpl. Colin Bason are remembered on the memorial.

LeSueur said Remembrance Day is often very difficult for the families of the fallen, but the efforts by the Pratts, who wanted to do this to remember people of their generation who gave their lives for our freedom, gave her a renewed sense of hope.

The Walk to Remember will be an important feature in Langley for many years to come.

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