Vandals broke this lady's heart
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 06:00 am
I address this to the juvenile delinquents who took a knife and cigarette to the Memorial Bench in Grenadier Park.
The bench was placed in Grenadier Park, high on a hill, as a place where people could sit and think, enjoy the park, meditate etc. My husband when alive would lay on the hill looking up into the universe, formulating the solutions to some of the mysteries of the universe, (his life work, the aurora borealis, the light where heaven and earth meet). It is the only place to sit in the park, after some young people, some years ago burned down the picnic bench behind Grandin Park Plaza.
The juveniles are quite welcome to sit, smoke their joints and drink their six-packs but desecrating a sacred spot is not acceptable. It is like destroying gravestones or urinating on a war memorial. Most of the benches in the parks of St. Albert are in memory to some loved one. My heart was broken when my husband died, and this is just more pain for me and my family. It is a place that I go to talk and be close to him. It is a spiritual place for me and others who go there who knew and worked with him in his lifetime.
There is quite a history for this memorial bench, in memory of my husband John Samson (article by Kevin Ma Feb 2012, St. Albert Community recognition award June 2013, U of A Alumni In Memorial etc.). In February after the sudden death of John, the family decided to contribute to the St. Albert Memorial Program and have a park bench commemorating my husbandís life. We chose a bench in Lions Park where he had spent many hours. This bench was burned down in June, 2012.
We then selected another site along the Red Willow trail and gave our donation. After the concrete pad was poured, the pad was vandalized with inscriptions. We decided that this was not the right spot for John's memorial so donated the bench in the name of the family Samson. We donated more to the city and picked the spot in Grenadier Park close to our home. When the concrete was poured last fall it was vandalized with inscriptions, which was reported to the RCMP. Public works, my son and a neighbour were able to remove the names and foul language. This spring the bench was placed with the memorial plaque. Now the bench has been vandalized using a knife and cigarette burns. This is like assaulting his person.
In St. Albert we have many programs for young people, but still some fall through the cracks. Maybe they do not have the resources or knowledge to access them? Maybe we as a community need to seek these juveniles out where they congregate, giving them outlets to express themselves before they become delinquents? But maybe they are just lost to us.
Liz Samson, St. Albert