Hilary Maranda would like to see a “kind and gentle world.”
The Kelowna resident was 12 when her father died. George Innes, 45, was the first veteran buried in Kelowna’s Field of Honour at Lakeview Memorial Gardens in 1961.
“He died right before my birthday,” she said.
Innes fought Nazis in Holland during the Second World War. He was admitted years later to Riverview psychiatric hospital in Coquitlam when Maranda was six-years-old, after suffering from mental illness. He later drowned in a pool of water on the grounds.
Innes is one of approximately 350 veterans buried at the cemetery.
The family suspected Innes’s illness may have developed because of the war, but they don’t know because in those days they don’t have the tests, said Maranda.
His death left her mother, Charlotte Innes Baxandall as a single mother with three children.
“My brother never knew his dad. He was a baby…wars are terrible things. They rob so many things from people,” said Maranda.
Maranda’s mother became a poster child for the war after enlisting in 1942. Maranda has many photographs of her posing with American soldiers. She also spent time in Vancouver and Ontario doing clerical work.
Maranda’s parents married after the war and they settled in Kelowna. Maranda remembers her mother saying Kelowna is the best place on earth. Baxandall was buried beside her first husband after her death in 2015.
Flags in Canadian cemeteries will be lowered to half mast, May 8 as part of Flag Day, which honours the day in 1945 when the Allies declared victory in Europe.
In Kelowna, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 26 will hold a ceremony at Lakeview Memorial Gardens at 10 a.m.
Maranda believes there’s value in holding these ceremonies.
“I just think people are so oblivious to the horrors of war now. There’s just so much horrible stuff going on, they just don’t know how terrible it was.”
More than 47,000 Canadians were killed during the Second World War, 94 of them from Kelowna.
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