An initiative by Brookswood teens Elizabeth and Michael Pratt through Langley Youth for the Fallen is a wonderful way to pay tribute to the sacrifice made by 157 Canadians in Afghanistan, and is in keeping with a Langley tradition going back almost 100 years.
At the end of the First World War (known as the Great War at that time), Langley residents wanted to ensure that those who went off to war and didn’t return would be remembered. Two cenotaphs were built — one at each of the cemeteries in Murrayville and Fort Langley, and about three dozen memorial trees were planted in remembrance of soldiers who had lost their lives. In addition, roads were renamed after the fallen — including what is now the most prominent road in Langley, 200 Street, which was named Carvolth Road after Jack Carvolth, kiilled in action at Vimy on March 1, 1917.
Several of the trees planted at that time still stand — notably the large maple tree at 96 Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley, and another maple near the intersection of 216 Street and Glover Road in Milner, originally planted outside the Milner church, which was moved down the road several years ago.
The extensive community effort to ensure that the fallen soldiers were not forgotten paid off. The largest Remembrance Day service in Langley is held annually at the Fort Langley cenotaph; many people still remember the former road names; and the trees remain a living memorial.
The Pratts are proposing that 157 trees be planted, and have already received support from several businesses and community organizations. The Township has also enthusiastically offered its support, offering space for the plantation at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum.
“We like the idea of planting trees as they symbolize life. Through each of these trees, each soldier lives on,” said Elizabeth Pratt.
Two of the fallen soldiers, Garrett Chidley and Colin Bason, have significant ties to Langley. Remembering them and their colleagues is most appropriate.
“At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”