With another Remembrance Day coming up, I have been trying to figure out how to explain it to my children, aged 2 and 4. They are at a very inquisitive age, so I got in touch with the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation.
Here is a little history behind the foundation:
“In 1971, a child of twelve was having a discussion with her mother who was very ill and near death. Her mother, who was a veteran, stroked the child’s head and asked her not to cry and to try not to forget her on Armistice Day. Through her tears, the young girl looked into her mother’s eyes and nodded, not even understanding what was meant by the word Armistice.
Our founder, Maureen Bianchini Purvis, was that young girl. Her mother was Lillian Mary Bianchini, a proud Canadian veteran of WWII. Never missing a year since the passing of her mother, Maureen has gone to the cemetery site to lay a poppy on Remembrance Day. First alone, then with her husband and finally, as soon as they could walk, her two daughters.
They would pause at the cenotaph and look out at all the headstones that lay in the Field of Honour in Beechmount Cemetery in Edmonton. Her two little girls would ask, “Why don’t the others get a poppy?”
Maureen’s goal was not only to honour veterans today. She and her family saw that the key to ongoing remembrance lay in engaging youth in a more meaningful and personal act of remembrance – so that they could truly understand and connect with the sacrifices made to give all of us the peace and freedoms we enjoy today, and carry that connection forward with them through their lives.
No Stone Left Alone was officially launched in 2011 to help ensure an enduring national respect and gratitude for the sacrifice of the Canadian men and women who have lost their lives in the service of peace, at home and abroad. It has become her mission to see that one day all of the soldiers’ headstones would have a poppy placed in their honour, with truly No Stone Left Alone.”
In 2020: 28,722 poppies placed & 59,116 headstones honoured, 1,510 students participated (health restrictions).
In 2019: 12,297 students from 127 schools placed 64,503 poppies in 121 cemeteries
There are so many amazing resources on their website for children and families, including activity books that can be downloaded in a PDF version. There are also resources on the website for teachers to engage students and get them involved. Here are some of my favourites:
I was hoping to be able to attend a ceremony to see it first hand, but unfortunately due to these strange times we are facing, they are not open to the public this year. That, however, does not mean that you cannot attend them virtually. On November 4th, 2021, the ceremony at Beechmount Cemetery in Edmonton, where it all started, is streaming live on the website at 10:30 am MDT. A No Stone Left Alone Special Presentation will also be aired on Global TV Edmonton and Calgary on November 6th, 2021 at 7:00 pm MDT. They are also having an online auction open until November 8th, 2021 if you are interested in helping out with their fundraising campaign. I have added the links.
What does you family do for Remembrance Day?