Retired serviceman wants facelift for cenotaph

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL - Years of remembrance and the lives lost are not forgotten here in Springhill.

The cenotaph is Springhill is need of sprucing up and repairs, as well as an update. John Hopkins is championing the repairs and says adding the community’s losses during the Korean War should be added.

The military runs deep in John Hopkins’ family. Grandfathers, great-grandfathers, aunts, uncles and cousins have distinguished careers going back as far as the second Boer War. Both he and his brother held military careers – John for over 40 years, his brother George for 28 years. Both would dutifully attend Remembrance Day Services here in Springhill. That is, until George passed away last year.

“Last November 11th was the first November 11th George and I didn’t go together,” Hopkins said.

A piece of Hopkins was missing, and as he stood before the community’s cenotaph he noticed it was missing a few pieces itself.

“I thought, ‘Boy, that’s in rough shape,’” Hopkins said. “Cracks in the bottom of the statue, part of the helmet broken off when someone through a beer bottle at it, gaps in the pillars – over 139 names and maple leaves that need cleaned out. There’s a lot of moss on it. Korea is not even on it yet. We lost two during the Korean War. ”

It was enough to get Hopkins investigating what it would cost to make the repairs and changes. As he made progress, he wondered what it would cost to offer some landscaping, too.

“I would like to see a flower bed with the Canadian maple leaf on one side and on the other side a nice arrangements of tulips,” Hopkins said. “And two flag poles. With the Canadian Flag and the Nova Scotia flag.”

At first blush, Hopkins says he’s looking at a budget between $10-15,000 for everything to done, including the costs of repairs to the statue and sealing everything against the elements, and says he has approached the Town of Springhill about spearheading the project, which would require fundraising. There are also grants out there, Hopkins said, and if any one of those helped tipped the scales in the town’s favour, it could even make way for a maintenance fund which, Hopkins said, is long overdue.

“On September 24, 1929, was when the cenotaph was dedicated, so almost 100 years ago,” Hopkins said. “In 1929 they didn’t think about maintaining or even being wheel chair accessible. As far as I’m concerned it hallowed ground. These people have their lives for our freedoms so we have a duty to take care of our cenotaphs. “



Twitter: ADNchris

Organizations: Remembrance Day Services, Canadian Flag

Geographic location: Springhill, Korea, Nova Scotia

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