At least three generations of Campbell Riverites came together on Wednesday morning to recognize and honour those who have served with the Canadian Forces, those who continue to do so and those we have lost in service.
Students of Ripple Rock Elementary School joined up with members of the Campbell River Genealogy Society, the Campbell River Legion and members of 19 Wing Comox for a very special ceremony at the Campbell River Cemetery.
To go along with the annual genealogy society initiative to place flags and information placards at the graves of lost military servicemen and women in our graveyards – which they do on Nov. 1 each year and leave in place all month long – this year also marked the first ever No Stone Left Alone (NSLA) remembrance ceremony in Campbell River.
NSLA honours military veterans and ensures their acts of bravery and sacrifice are never forgotten by passing on their legacy to school kids across the country by having them attend a ceremony and place poppies on the graves of those who lost their lives serving Canada. In 2016, almost 50,000 armed forces members were honoured in NSLA events across the country, but Wednesday’s event was the first one for the region, according to NSLA regional representative Capt. Brad Little of 19 Wing Comox, who says it was due in large part to the hard work and dedication of the Campbell River Genealogy Society.
Little says the genealogy society’s dedicated research into servicemen buried in the Campbell River cemeteries led to the acquisition and placement of eight new gravestones – the completion of which happened earlier this week – so this year’s Nov. 1 event was the perfect opportunity to get students involved for an NSLA memorial, as well.
“For our inaugural participation, we were looking for something unique – something special,” Little says. “This is the perfect example of community recognition of service. Sometimes you have someone who served whose service wasn’t known because they didn’t die in conflict, but they’re buried and then through the hard work of people like the genealogy society, they uncover their connection to the military, then put in even more hard work getting a stone and organizing getting it put in. That’s truly ensuring that someone is not forgotten as a veteran – as a person who risked it all for their country.”
The flags, poppies and placards placed this week will be in place at the Campbell River Cemetery through the end of the month and the public is invited to attend any time and pay their respects.