Hergott: Ceremony to commemorate traffic fatalities

Every day and a half, someone in British Columbia is killed in a road traffic incident. Every 6 1/2 minutes, someone is injured.

A solemn day of remembrance has just passed.

It was a particularly poignant one for me because I attended a Remembrance Day ceremony at the elementary school for my two youngest children.

Morgan, the older of the two, had small speaking and solo singing parts, while Caden joined his big sister in the choir.

The poignancy for me had to do with these innocent children beginning to catch a glimpse of the horrors of war, a glimpse that must be built on if the purpose of Remembrance Day has a hope of being realized.

Another Remembrance Day, about 25 years ago, continues to burn in my mind.

A reservist in a Regina communications squadron at the time, I had the honour of joining three other cenotaph sentries on a nippy Nov. 11, each of us standing perfectly still, white gloves on the butts of our down-turned rifles in honour of the tremendous sacrifices.

As I imagined my fingers developing frostbite, my own glimpse of what those who have served us sacrificed became somewhat more clear.

But another solemn day of remembrance is just around the corner.

A World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was initiated by an organization called RoadPeace, in 1993.

The United Nations provided international endorsement in 2005, declaring the third  Sunday in November as the day of remembrance.

Why? A staggering 215,000 people are injured every single day in road traffic incidents; approximately 3,500, daily, are killed.

Canada followed suit, and in 2008 we declared the Wednesday following the third Sunday in November to be the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims.

Is this a Third World problem that doesn’t face us in Canada?

More Canadians have been killed in road traffic incidents than were killed in both world wars.

Every day and a half, someone in British Columbia is killed in a road traffic incident.

Every 6 1/2 minutes, someone is injured.

There is a national website where events commemorating this important day of remembrance can be registered.

As of my typing of this column, there are only three registrations for all of Canada, the others being in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

I invite you to join me along with several other local officials:

• Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran

• West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater

• Either Cpl. Joe Duncan or Cst. Steve Holmes from Kelowna RCMP

• Local fire chiefs Jeff Carlisle (Kelowna) and  Jason Brolund (West Kelowna)

• Glenn Brathwaite, duty supervisor, BC Ambulance Services

• A representative of ICBC

• Magda Kapp, with BrainTrust Canada

• Tina Harder and Eva Gainer, with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers

• Dave Gibson, School District 23 regional traffic safety officer

• Eric Ledding, with Kelowna and District Safety Council

• Calum MacMillan, with Young Drivers of Canada.

The ceremony takes place Wednesday, Nov. 18, 5 p.m., at the Orchard Park Mall parking lot, corner of Dilworth and Highway 97, for the fourth annual Kelowna commemoration of this important day.

It will be cold and dark, but the floodlight of a Kelowna Fire Department ladder truck will help us alongside the rushing sound of traffic at one of the city’s most dangerous intersections.

Let us remember those killed and suffering injuries from road traffic incidents.

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