There is a CPR war memorial in front of Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver. I’ve admired it many times when I’ve walked by. It features an angel carrying a dead soldier to heaven. I read up on it and found out that the same sculpture was placed in Winnipeg and Montreal by CPR as well.
And I am glad they did because the sculptor did a magnificent job. It is at the same time both achingly sad and almost soothing to see the sculptor’s belief that those who died were cared for after death. And yet the angel grieves as well. I often admire it when I walk by.
But as brilliant as the sculpture is, it is the words etched on the base that give me pause. I find so many phrases and terms are now trite due to over use, but not so here. The author is not known to me, but his words match well with the sculpture itself – grief and care.
To commemorate those in the service of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company whom at the call of King and Country left all that was dear to them, endured hardship, faced danger and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others may live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names are not forgotten.
“Out of the sight of men” is my favorite part. Written as if those who died remain – but just not within our sight. A little hope in amongst the sadness.
March 8th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: To be able to write or sculpt that still imparts your intended meaning 90 years later. A gift.