The organizer of a Vimy Ridge tribute in Vernon admits a light display didn’t quite go as well as hoped.
Andy Wylie rented a couple of search lights and beamed them into the sky at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre in the shape of a V Saturday and Sunday nights.
“It went as well as I could expect, for one guy to do. The lights were not as strong as I had hoped, but they had the effect, especially if you were within about a kilometre, they were awe inspiring,” Wylie tells Kiss FM.
Photo: Vimy Ridge light tribute from Allan Brooks Nature Centre (Guy Bailey photo)
Wylie is hoping someone will follow up on his lights idea, and make it a permanent fixture in Vernon.
“It’s a little gift for the future, in case the Rail Trail gets going. You realize this is the Vimy Light. We got it on the 100th anniversary of the battle and the 150th anniversary of Canada, so if we ever need to blast out to the world, all we need is two lights, and the precedent is there. It’s my gift, and maybe no one will ever use it, but maybe in tough times ahead, we might want to rely on tourism, and we’ve got some beacons, and that’s a legit one,” adds Wylie.
He says it could compliment the area becoming a prime tourist destination with the Okanagan Rail Trail.
As for the Battle of Vimy Ridge 100th anniversary ceremony at the Vernon Cenotaph on Sunday, an estimated crowd of about 150 people were on hand.
Some of the participants also attended Wylie’s home at 4008 29th Street afterwards where he has a memorial to Vimy Ridge in his back yard.
Wylie says his connection to the battle in France that ended April 9, 1917 during World War One, goes back to his mom telling him stories when he was a child.
“It started out with my great uncle (who was a war veteran). He lived a ruined life when he came back, and my mom had tears in her eyes when she told the stories. So I kept the flag up for him on August 3, 2014 for him. And then as time went on, I realized if I don’t build a Vimy memorial in my backyard, Canada will not have one. They will have plaque or something, but no Vimy memorial, so I’m fighting for Canadian history, and I’m one of the only guys out there reminding people what a great country this is,” states Wylie.