Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Their Error Liveth Forevermore

Our charming little town square in Port Coquitlam is home to our City Hall, the smartly-designed new Leigh Square Arts Centre, a Starbucks (natch), and an idyllic park space featuring this monument to fallen World War II vets:

My first thought is that there is an astonishingly large number of names on this honor roll, given the very modest size of this community at mid-20th century. A loss this big would almost literally have decimated the town's population--a reality of the time that is often lost on us post-war baby boomers.

There is something else about this monument that caught my attention. You'll notice that the names proceed in stately alphabetical order from Baker to Zappia--with the curious exception of W. Kravac, which has inexplicably been inserted at the end of the first column between  Lonsdale and McTavish. You'll also note that there is already a W. Krivac memorialized here.

I have a theory here. I can't prove it of course, but I suspect that the engravers finished the job, only to discover (or had it pointed out to them by an aggrieved relative) that they had chiseled in W.Kravac's name incorrectly. The only solution then, since they couldn't very well erase the error, was simply to add the correct rendering at the bottom of the scroll.

Nowadays, where so much of our lives is recorded digitally, mistakes are easy to override. No white-out, no XXXs--just a few keystrokes and all is forgiven. After all, it's not written in stone. In this case, however...