SUMMERSIDE – The Lest We Forget Committee is looking for support from the City of Summerside to make Credit Union Place the site of a P.E.I. memorial site to the service men and women from the Island.
Committee chairman Bob Steele outlined the group’s success to date to city council.
The group was instrumental in the establishment of the Air Force Heritage Park at Slemon Park
“Our last project that I was involved was the Air Force Heritage Park,” Steele said. “In my mind, that’s a great success. It brought many, many visitors to the Island.”
He said there were more than ten reunions held in Summerside because of the Air Force Heritage Park and two more are coming this summer. He said these are economic generators for the areas.
The committee has now set its sites on a similar recognition of Island service men and woman at Credit Union Place.
“We want to make that a one-of-a-kind in the country,” he said.
He said the support has been strong for the idea. Legions across the Island, along with the P.E.I. Regiment, 200 Wing, Slemon Park, along with others have come on board.
We’ve been dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs and we’re pretty optimistic there,” Steele said. “There are a number of areas where we’re going out for funds. We plan on having a preliminary opening around the end of March. What we have asked each legion on P.E.I. to do is give us one member who has been killed serving their country.”
Steele said this would begin the process of generating the memorial by posting the photos and information on the wall area at Credit Union Place.
“It would be some sort of indication that it’s in progress and a wall will be there,” he said. “At the end of June we intend to have a grand opening,” Steele said.
He said the committee hopes to have as many portraits on the wall along with a video display comprised of every service person from Prince County.
“The chances of reaching 100 per cent are slim,” he said. “But once you get it started, we want people to come and say ‘You haven’t got my uncle on it.’ We’ll be sending out to every home in Prince County requests asking for families to fill out a form so we can put the information in our computer.”
Steele said the committee has applied to the province and the federal government to finance three summer student positions to help compile the data.
Steele said the display will provide the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren information about their family member who served and died in past conflicts.
“We all love Nov. 11 but when the names are read from the platform and there’s one name after another, you lose a little bit,” he said. “It’s just names, and for the school kids those people would be way over 100 (years old). We lose the effect.”
Steele said he wanted to leave the impression that the Lest We Forget Committee is partnering with the city to make this project a reality.
“One that is going to pay dividends,” he said.