Monuments, though they commemorate the dead, are for the living. They allow the living to remember, mourn, and sometimes teach us all a lesson. That is part of the idea of a new memorial being planned in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The monument will honour Manitobans killed in drunk driving collisions.
The purpose is to give the family and friends of victims a public place to remember their loved one, and to acknowledge the all those in Manitoba who have lost their lives to impaired driving.
Manitoba chapters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada got together to promote the idea, which has now taken off. The monument will be unveiled August 28th at Glen Eden Funeral Home & Cemetery in West St. Paul. This will be the first such memorial in Western Canada.
“This means a great deal to the families who have come forward to have their loved ones names engraved onto the monument,” says Gillian Phillips, MADD Canada Victim Services Manager for the Western Region. “It’s a lasting legacy and a beautiful, peaceful place they can visit.”
MADD is very active in Winnipeg, putting forward ideas for tougher legislation to prevent the carnage that impaired driving causes in the city and the province. In general MADD feels that anti-impaired-driving measures in western Canada leave room for improvement. Manitoba, in fact, fared poorly in the organization’s 2015 review of provincial impaired driving laws.
Enacting legislation and changing driving habits takes time, and time has already run out for the many Canadian drunk driving victims whose names make it into short news stories and then disappear. The Manitoba Memorial Monument is a way to keep those names from disappearing: to keep the names of drunk driving victims alive for their families, and remind Manitobans of their responsibility to promote sober driving until the deaths cease.