Wall commemorates COs in ManitobaBy Conrad Stoesz
WINKLER, Man. — About 250 people commemorated conscientious objectors to war with a “wall of remembrance” monument dedication Sept. 11.
Bernie Loeppky, chair of the Evangelical Anabaptist Fellowship, said the wall is made of 3,021 bricks, symbolizing the number of men from Manitoba who served Canada as COs during World War II.
The CO monument stands on the opposite side of the park from the monument to war veterans. Mennonite Church Manitoba representative Justin Zacharias said the arrangement mirrors tensions still felt in families and the wider community.
Others observed that honoring both in the one park represents continuing dialogue.
In the Book of Joshua, God instructed the Israelites to build a stone monument to help the people remember and tell the story of their ancestors and of God’s faithfulness. The wall of remembrance follows this example.
A handful of octogenarian COs from World War II — some on a day pass from the hospital — attended the event, sponsored by the EAF and Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society.
The service opened with “O Canada,” hymns and prayers. A historical society representative gave a summary history, linking the migration of Mennonites from Europe to Winkler with the strong belief in refusing military service.
Representatives from five denominations brought greetings and a call for greater faithfulness to Jesus’ teachings, including nonresistance and peacemaking. A singing group from Bergthaler Mennonite Church in Winkler also participated.
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