I read recently in the News Review that Sidney will be installing a 9/11 memorial plinth in Bevan Park. In my opinion this is not an appropriate use of public land. Let me start by saying that like most people, I found the events of 9/11 tragic and shocking and I recognize that they had a lasting and profound effect on society. So, I can sympathize with the desire to provide some recognition for the event. But, there is really no significant connection between the events of 9/11 and Sidney.
Why don’t we have a memorial for Pearl Harbour? There are a lot of similarities. Pearl Harbour was also shocking, violent and involved significant loss of life. It had a profound effect on society. At the time, there was real fear that invasion somewhere on the West Coast was imminent. This was an important factor leading to the military presence at the Victoria airport which is an important event in Sidney’s history. Don’t get me wrong … I’m not suggesting that we put up a memorial to Pearl Harbour. I don’t really think that would be appropriate either.
One needs to have some perspective about what belongs in Sidney on public land and what doesn’t. In my view a memorial plinth for 9/11 doesn’t belong. There is not enough connection to Sidney to justify the use of public land. The precedent it sets for future town councils is problematic. I sympathize with the desire for some kind of memorial. Instead, can I suggest considering a park bench, park or playground improvements, or some improvements to the Mary Winspear, library, etc. with a suitable memorial plaque. Such improvements are beneficial to the town and easily justify the use of public land. And, they are still respectful and provide recognition to the events of 9/11.
I’d ask that the Rotary club and Sidney council reconsider this idea.