Controversy has arisen regarding the 'Forever In The Skies' monument, and the decision as to it's final resting place in the Energy City.

Recently, City Council was denied permission from the provincial government to place the wooden sculpture on the Estevan Provincial Courthouse lawn. Currently located at the Estevan Regional Airport, the original plan was to place it on the east side of the court house, complimenting the Soldier Tree on the west side. However, the higher powers-that-be would have none of it.

Citing that 'The character and style of the carved monument does not complement the "classic revival" architectural design of the Courthouse building and property layout', in a letter to Council, the Ministry of Central Services also said that the monument 'is not intended to represent principles of justice, good governance or the rule of law, principles that are typically associated with courts.'

This has Lester Hinzman, one those who facilitated and organized the creation of the monument and it's dedication, outraged.

"The Courthouse is the center of Estevan. Three highways go through there - 47, 18, and 39 - they all join there," he said, pointing out that the funeral parade for the deceased airmen that died that fateful day in 1946 passed right through that location. 

"Everybody comes through Estevan through that area, so they would see the monument. If it's at the airport, nobody goes out there. This is a learning tool for our young people."

He calls the provincial government's reasons for denial a 'crock', saying that the principles of justice is what the men stood for.

"There are people in Estevan who are against it (moving the monument onto the courthouse lawn), for whatever reason they choose. But that's what those men gave us, the power to choose without being taken out and shot."

"That's where it should be, is that east side of the courthouse, where people can come and see. We had a family member (of one of the deceased airmen) come from Prince Edward Island here to see it. His uncle was one of the men that died, and he brought his daughters to see it," he added.

There also appears to be some disparity between the fact that the Soldier Tree is a similar concept, theme and design to the crash monument.

"I really don't know," said Hinzman of the disconnect, "But this monument should be on the east side. There's no room on the west side anymore, it's getting over crowded, whereas on the east side of the courthouse you have lots of room, it's got a beautiful area. People will come, and people will see it."

He also mentioned that strong support has been received from the very start towards the memorial from the Royal Canadian Air Force.

"This thing is just too important. It's important for the City's history, and for the province's history, and for our country, that these men don't get forgot about."

In 1946, 20 RCAF airmen and one ground crew member were making a return flight to Canada after ferrying aircraft south of the border. On approach into Estevan South Airport, their Douglas DC-3 pitched up and then crashed, killing all in a fiery inferno. All were veterans of World War Two, some of them decorated for their achievments in combat.

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