An online fundraiser has been launched by the Yellowknife Legion to replace the city’s Veterans Monument, which was damaged beyond repair earlier this month in what appeared to be an act of vandalism.
Yellowknife RCMP and military police are continuing to investigate after the monument, located on Veterans Memorial Drive in front of the Joint Task Force (North) Evans Building, was badly damaged on July 4.
The memorial was erected in by legion members in 2005.
A GoFundMe campaign launched on July 10 has raised nearly $2,000 to build a new memorial at the site.
“We are hoping to raise what we need to erect a new monument by Remembrance Day 2019,” wrote Tammy Roberts, a legion board member, on the GoFundMe page.
In an interview with Yellowknifer, Roberts said the incident has left many legion members “disheartened.”
“It’s a memorial that is there because of the people who have been in war, been in peacekeeping missions. People who lay their life on the line for us to have what we have today,” said Roberts.
“It’s just a huge disgrace that it happened,” she added.
A number of other legion branches have been reaching out to offer donations, said Roberts.
Support has also come in the form of online comments – including “lest we forget” – left on the GoFundMePage.
“Of course we want to raise funds but the comments are really comforting. Everybody is just kind of joining in this sadness … because it’s so disrespectful,” said Roberts.
By late afternoon on Monday, the GoFundMe campaign had collected over $1,600 in donations to go towards the legion’s $25,000 target.
“It’s a pretty big goal but we really, really would like to have something unveiled for Remembrance Day. I think it would be really important,” said Roberts. “We’re working hard to do that.”
The money will be used to submit a tender for an artist to design the new monument. A plaque affixed to the base of the memorial – inscribed with the original date the statue was erected – will also have to be replaced.
The new monument might not look identical to the original and the legion will be “pretty open,” to suggestions about the replacement, she said, adding members are looking to replace the monument with something that is stronger and more durable.
Yellowknife RCMP did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ongoing investigation, but Roberts said she recently learned from police there were no updates or new information related to the probe.
Inscribed with a dedication to “the men and women who have served Canada in time of peace and war … we will remember them,” the monument featured bronze-coloured statuettes, which were knocked off their moorings – and later removed all together.
You can donate to here: https://www.gofundme.com/replace-vandalized-war-memorial