‘I can’t wipe the smile off my face’
Before she was even unveiled, children were placing dandelions at the feet of the life-sized sculpture of Mona Parsons.
Wolfville Mayor Jeff Cantwell said the sculpture brings Parsons’ Second World War story to life.
“It’s important to Canadian history, Nova Scotia history and it’s certainly part of Wolfville’s history.”
“Now that she’s dancing on Main Street,” Cantwell joked, he can finally take Parsons’ image off his Facebook page where she’s been for two full years.
Kings Hants MP Scott Brison looked at the 250 people gathered for the event and said, “we’re all here to honour such a remarkable hero or heroine.”
He thanked biographer Andria Hill Lehr for “bringing to life the story of Mona Parsons, who was willing to risk her life to protect and save” British airmen.
Brison added the sculpture will remind future generations of her valour and he congratulated the community effort to make something happen in Parsons’ memory.
Representing the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, W.O. Mark Joseph poignantly described a soldier encountering the 87pound Parsons at war’s end in 1945.
She was looking for British troops and happened upon the Highlanders; in fact, a soldier from Halifax. Parsons had used her acting ability, which Joseph called a military-like skill set, in order to survive.
Hill Lehr, who found Parsons’ archived story in 1995, said, “I can’t wipe the smile off my face. It takes a community to make this happen.”
She read from the May 5, 1945 letter Parsons wrote home where the emaciated woman said her joy was almost too much to bear.
Sculptor Nistal Prem de Boer, whose Dutch parents had to hide during the war, depicted Parsons expressing the joy of freedom.
He said she was an ordinary woman who was called upon to risk her life to save others. De Boer said he looks forward to the face on the Parsons sculpture changing every day.
Two members of the Women of Wolfville, Ramona Jennex and Linda Wheeldon, unveiled the Mona Parsons sculpture on May 5 in Wolfville.