It’s unfortunate that the recently constructed Brandon Veterans’ Memorial has come under attack, because of what we can only term a misunderstanding — on the part of the donors.
As the Sun reported this week, several people who made donations to the memorial are upset their relatives’ names are not etched in the monument.
Since the official dedication of the monument a few weeks ago at the corner of 11th Street and Victoria Avenue, the Sun has received several emails and Sound Off submissions from angry donors complaining about the issue.
But their complaints are unfair to the Veterans’ Memorial Committee, which never promised to put names on the monument itself.
And we can verify that. In an article about the project that appeared in our pages last November, we clearly wrote that the “names of the veteran and the person who donated will be listed on a donor board at city hall.”
As committee chair Don Berry further writes in a letter on this page, the memorial was constructed as a tribute to all of the region’s veterans. Had the intent of the committee been to include the names of veterans on the memorial, it should then include names of all veterans from Brandon and district, not a select few whose family members helped pay for its construction.
In a recent interview with the Sun, Berry said that “too many years that have passed since all those casualties from the First World War and there are many people who have died — not only the veterans, but the people who would have wanted to have their names on by making a donation.”
Had Brandon’s political leaders taken more of an initiative in the wake of the end of the Second World War to build a lasting and prominent monument to our war veterans, we might not be having this dispute so many decades later. But that is just wishful thinking.
But because of the furor, it seems that the committee has been forced to rethink the location of the donor wall. That could include another granite piece for the opposite corner of the property that would display the names of the veterans whose families have contributed to the project.
This option may or may not satisfy donors — we simply don’t know. And obviously the committee may reach some other decision currently unknown to us.
As much as it may have disappointed some members of the public, we still believe the memorial, as it now stands, serves its purpose well, and offers a fitting tribute to local veterans. It’s in a prominent location, and it rights a historic oversight in our community.
We’re not entirely convinced that a secondary donors wall must be located near the main memorial, but if the committee decides to move in that direction, we will back its decision.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 4, 2013