The Bravery Park™ initiative started in 2009 after I received correspondence and met with Valerie McGrady, mother of Cpl. Matthew McCully. Her son was killed in active service in Afghanistan, and she wanted a way to honour his life.
The purpose of the Bravery Parks is to honour Canadian and United States soldiers, first and foremost. Nothing takes higher precedence than this. We honour those who have put their country ahead of themselves. We show our recognition and appreciation of their service that sometimes results in the ultimate sacrifice. Some return home to face a life filled with greater challenges, as they bear wounds that are not always visible to the human eye.
Those with allergies/asthma and COPD can enjoy a Bravery Park that has been planted with specially selected allergy-friendly plants, shrubs, and trees (Maple). The use of allergy-friendly Maple trees (Acer rubrum and Acer x freemanii selected species) will ensure that the Bravery Park can be enjoyed and accessible to an increased number of citizens and visitors.
For Canadian Bravery Parks, the Maple tree has been specifically selected because it represents beauty and our national emblem. The Maple leaf is also shown on the Medal of Bravery which was established on May 1, 1972, and is awarded by the Governor-General of Canada. Depending on your geographical zone, a different feature low-allergen tree will be recommended.
Each Bravery Park layout includes plans for seating areas for families to come together and remember the families of the brave men and women that have fought tirelessly for their country.
A Bravery Park can be created in any size village, town, city or municipality and takes only a fraction of the effort that these soldiers have undertaken.
My role is helping with each project is to recommend allergy-friendly plantings based on the zone, along with cooperation by the garden centre/nursery in the area. If the sponsoring village/city/town/municipality hands over the responsibility, I communicate as the project manager with the assigned landscape architect, city planning committee, interested veterans, and local citizens. I encourage those wanting a Bravery Park to solicit sponsorship of this very worthwhile project from service clubs and local businesses.
The cost of a Bravery Park for the initial planting and upkeep usually resides with the local parks department, and if possible with the assistance of volunteers.
A Bravery Park is a living tribute to veterans’ courage, bravery, and dedication to freedom, by recognizing the sacrifices the men and women have made to make this a better world for all of us.