The Terry Fox statue, once a proud monument to a young manâs incredible courage is now a testament to cowards who live among us. Last week the statue had major damage done to the head and neck area. That alone is disquieting. The vandal or vandals know who they are. But do we? Not their name. We may never know that. I mean, do we know the kind of cruel, sinister, sick mind that operates in these people? The criminal mind. How did they slip through life without us noticing?
Now we notice.
I remember being in the Community Foundation Park on Sept. 18, 2005 as the long anticipated statue was finally unveiled. The date marked the 25th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope. I recall the oohs and ahhs from children and adults as the cloth came off and the grinning likeness of Terry Fox â” his head turned towards the finish line – was revealed. Immortalized in bronze. Truly a wonderful work of art.
Local runner Terry Cramer who dreamed of this day for years and lit a fire under people to ensure the statue became a reality, had tears of joy in her eyes. There was a little toddler in the crowd who tried to sneak a peak underneath the cloth just before the magical moment. And it was magic. Now the magic is gone.
The statue created by artist Nathan Scott went up so proudly – taking it down will be such a shame. Shame on us. Last year, while shooting a Day in the Life for the Free Press, I stopped by the park early in the morning. Nothing much was open and I was on the graveyard shift of photo journalism. There was a man, obviously homeless, sitting on the grass in the moonlight. He was staring almost reverently at the statue. Noticing the interesting light play on the life-sized statue from street lights and moonlight, I asked if I could take a picture of him with the statue. He jumped to his feet and said, âYou bet. Me and Terry Fox. That would be special.â
Last week, city councillor Don Zurowski had it right when he said:
âItâs not just damage to the property, itâs an insult to the cause.â The act of vandalism is also an insult to Terry Fox. In 1979, Terry Fox who lost one leg to cancer at 18, went part way on the Prince George to Boston Marathon as a test of his endurance. It took him three hours, nine minutes â” he finished 10 minutes behind the last two-legged runner. Fox knew if he passed this trial run, he was strong enough to start his famous Marathon of Hope.
The statue was erected in his honour at Seventh and Dominion, a place that marks the finish line for the 17 mile race. It was our connection with a Canadian hero. They say the damage can not be repaired and a new statue will cost the taxpayers dearly. Money should not be an issue.
Terry Fox raised millions for us in his Marathon of Hope. Frankly, whatâs a few thousand dollars to restore a statue in his memory. You wonder, if we build it (again) will the vandals come back? My own sense of hope tells me no â” but maybe thatâs a leap of faith.