Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wreaths Across Canada

Adorned graves at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in St. John’s, Newfoundland. (Photo submitted by Wreaths Across Canada)

I received an article written by Canadian Forces Captain, Lisa Evong, entitled, "A wreath for every Canadian veteran", about a new initiative between the Canadian Forces and Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa to be called Wreaths Across Canada.

The article says -
Almost a quarter of a million Canadian veterans are buried in cemeteries across Canada including those at rest at the National Military Cemetery at Beechwood. Many Canadians are unaware of this fact, and so the honour that is owed to them is lost. Wreaths Across Canada (W.A.C.) Incorporated is an organization determined to correct this omission starting on December 4.
“All too often when the image of deceased Canadian war veterans comes to mind we think of those buried overseas at places like Vimy, Normandy, Ortona, or Hong Kong,” says Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walter Natynczyk. “But, thousands of veterans, many of whom fought in and survived those same battles, are buried in military burial sites throughout our nation. Wreaths Across Canada is giving Canadians of every age an opportunity to play a personal and significant role in the ceremony to honour our fallen.”
Beginning Sunday, December 4 at 1:30 p.m., W.A.C. will activate its mission by placing almost 3000 balsam wreaths on the headstones of every veteran buried in the National Military Cemetery. The public is invited to participate in this most personal act of remembrance. It is anticipated that this will become an annual tradition in Ottawa and it is hoped that this ceremony of commemoration spreads to every military cemetery throughout Canada.
“Keep in mind three easy words - Remember, Honour, Teach – that is the mission statement of Wreaths Across Canada,” says General (Ret) Rick Hillier, W.A.C.’s Honourary Chairman. “We will remember those members of the Canadian Forces who lie in military cemeteries across Canada; we will honour those who have served Canada as members of our military forces; and we will strive to teach Canadian youth the value of freedom.”
No longer will it only be government and military leaders placing wreaths on memorials. W.A.C. invites you, your friends, and your family to participate in this ceremony. Families are encouraged to bring their children to the ceremony and schools are encouraged to participate. Serving members of the Canadian Forces are invited to attend in uniform and veterans attending are encouraged to wear their medals. The hope is that participants will depart with a new sense of gratitude and understanding of the sacrifice that was made.
W.A.C. is a registered charitable organization composed of a small group of volunteers who are mainly veterans. Local school boards are enthusiastic about this program and there is also a growing interest from other organizations and associations.
Fundraising for W.A.C. is now in full swing. Funds have been received from Veteran’s Affairs Canada, The McCain Foundation, the True Patriot Love Foundation, the Harrison McCain Foundation and individual donations from the general public. If you would like to make a donation to W.A.C, or volunteer to lay a wreath on December 4, please visit the website at, call 613-435-4294 or simply just arrive at the National Military Cemetery at 1 p.m. and you will be given a wreath to lay when the ceremony starts at 1:30 p.m.  
Postscript #1 - Glenn Wright, the former military archivist at the Library and Archives Canada, has informed me that the website, "WWI Canadian War Graves in the United Kingdom", has been put together by D. Beaupré and Adrian Watkinson. They are compiling a list and information about 3,885 soldiers who are buried in 834 locations across the United Kingdom.

The website is

Postscript #2 - has FREE access for Canadian Military Records on its website at until November 13th, 2011.

Tomorrow's Post: The Portraits of Honour National Tour, plus live streaming of the CBC's (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - Canada's public broadcaster) of the Remembrance Day Service, live from the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa.