17 August 2016

Cenotaphs and Veterans #nlpoli

The Town of Placentia has a new cenotaph.

Here's how the Southern Gazette writer described the new monument:  "The Cenotaph is a tribute to those from all the current and former communities of Placentia Bay who served in the First World War, Second World War, Korean War and peacekeeping missions."

Tribute is nice.

And it is a tribute to all the people who served in war and in peacekeeping operations.


The Oxford English Dictionary defines a cenotaph as "a monument to someone buried elsewhere, especially one commemorating people who died in a war."

Not served.


A cenotaph cannot honour veterans. The word comes from the Latin and Greek words for empty tomb. They survived a war or peacekeeping mission, by definition. 

While it is a really lovely idea to gather together a list of all the people from Placentia Bay who served in the military at some point, maybe there is a better way to recognise their service - not their death - than erecting a big slab of rock and calling it a cenotaph.