Veteran saddened after Vimy oak vandalized in Amherst
Published Sunday, September 10, 2017 7:43PM ADT
Last Updated Monday, September 11, 2017 7:59AM ADT
An elderly veteran from Amherst, N.S. says he’s left dismayed and feeling sick after vandals snapped the town’s prized Vimy oak sapling in two.
All that remains of the sapling can be found in a glass of water in an attempt to rescue the young tree – a sight that brings tears to Jack Perry’s eyes.
“I'm 86 years old and I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Perry says. “For somebody to do something like this, to mock our heritage, it's unbelievable. I’m sick to my stomach.”
This year, hundreds of Vimy oak saplings were planted across the country in honour of the centennial anniversary of Vimy Ridge.
The saplings come from cuttings that all have a direct line back to one lone tree left on the fields of Vimy back in 1917.
The Amherst Legion planted one of the memorial saplings last month in the town's Veteran’s Park.
Shortly after Labour Day, the sapling was found snapped in two and uprooted.
The town’s recreation director, Bill Schurman, says the plant doesn't appear to be salvageable.
“We immediately put it in water, hoping, just hoping, that maybe we could try to save it,” says Schurman. “Our horticulturist suggested it was too late.”
Community members are expressing outrage over the act of vandalism.
“Well I think it was very disrespectful for all the ones that died during the War,” says Marguerite Hudson.
“I think the younger people are thinking too much of themselves and not realizing what all the people years ago went through,” says Blanche Smith.
The Amherst Legion has applied to the Vimy Oaks Corporation for a second sapling, but there's no guarantee they'll be given another.
Perry says he’s hopeful the town will somehow get another sapling.
“We're going to have another one planted one way or another,” he says.
If there’s another planting ceremony, Perry says he wants to invite those responsible for the vandalism and show them how a little tree can mean so much.
“I’ll forgive them as long as they know what they done wrong.”
The town’s goal is to have a new Vimy oak in place by Remembrance Day.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.