For almost 100 years, the cenotaph has stood solemnly overlooking Sooke – a memorial to military sacrifice to a community that has sent soldiers to every war Canada has fought since the First World War.
But the cenotaph next to the Royal Canadian Legion on Eustace Road isn’t as strong as it looks, the flags are now tattered and United Nations’ flag that once graced the monument was in such disrepair that it’s been removed, while flower boxes and fencing are falling apart.
Legion president Janice Watson went to district council recently asking for $1,200 to make repairs needed before Remembrance Day. Council did one better: it offered to take over the maintenance.
Over the last few years, the Sooke legion, like many across the country, has hit financial straits as membership ages and fewer people are joining as members.
“The legion has always maintained the cenotaph, but the District of Sooke owns it,” Watson said. “We don’t mind maintaining it like we always have done, but there’s just so much going on right now.”
To get the cenotaph fixed, the legion wants the three flags – Canadian, Union Jack and UN – replaced, the flag poles painted, new flower boxes with permanent edging, and wrought-iron fencing.
Built in 1920, the cenotaph has graced three locations in Sooke – in 1920 it was at the corner of Murray and Sooke roads, it moved to the corner of Sooke and Sheilds roads in 1953, and its current location in 1979.
Council unanimously agree to take over the cenotaph maintenance, with work to begin immediately.
“The cenotaph is very important to our community,” Mayor Maja Tait said.