A poignant tradition that started in Edmonton in 2011 has spread to even more Canadian cities this year. No Stone Left Alone will hold remembrance ceremonies in more than 55 communities, getting closer to its goal to have a student place a poppy on the headstone of every Canadian who has served in the country’s armed forces.
The annual event held ceremonies in several cities on Monday, including at Edmonton’s Beechmount cemetery where the tradition began seven years ago.
This year’s ceremony in Edmonton paid tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the peace agreement that ended the First World War.
A procession of soldiers and cadets carried signs noting 10 of the key battles fought by Canadians in that war, including Frezenberg, Cambrai and Arras alongside more famous campaigns like Vimy, Hill 70 and Passchendaele.
“Think about it. Over the course of the war, our country send 650,000 men and women to fight,” Alberta’s Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell said during the ceremony. “One in 10 did not return.
“Imagine the terrifying conditions that our amazing heroes faced in battle. Think of the courage, think of the strength and the determination that they brought to the fight. The Armistice of 1918 brought an end to suffering the restored the precious gift of peace. Our heroes in the First World War and in every conflict since… they put themselves on the line because they believe in peace.
“We owe it to them to remember their names, to preserve their stories, to cherish the peace they gave their lives to protect.”
Watch below: Student Emmanuela Owusu reads her reflection letter to the No Stone Left Alone memorial foundation about what remembrance means to her and the importance of recognizing the sacrifices soldiers make.
Maureen Bianchini-Purvis, whose parents served for Canada in the Second World War, started the No Stone Left Alone movement seven years ago.
Since then, the tradition has expanded beyond anything those behind the first ceremony thought possible. For the past two years, the event has reached an international level, with No Stone Left Alone ceremonies held in Krakow, Poland.
On Sunday, Nov. 11, Global News will air a Remembrance Day news special, titled “No Stone Left Alone,” at 10 a.m. locally (and 10:30 a.m. in Halifax and New Brunswick). The 30-minute presentation will include segments from No Stone Left Alone events across the country, and feature students sharing their reflections on fallen soldiers they learned about, gaining new appreciation for military sacrifice.
The special will also air on Nov. 11 across the Global News Radio network with audio commentary by national host Charles Adler.
Watch: What started as a simple idea has turned into a worldwide movement as No Stone Left Alone has captured the hearts of millions. Here’s a look at the Nov. 5 ceremony at Beechmount Cemetery.
Also on Nov. 11, there will be coverage of Remembrance Day ceremonies on Global National and fellow Corus Entertainment specialty channel HISTORY, which dedicates its schedule to a “Day of Remembrance” with the two-part special premiere of “100 Days to Victory,” a gripping account of the last 100 days of the First World War at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Watch below: This year marked a special anniversary for No Stone Left Alone, reminding everyone how important it is to share the sacrifices made with the next generation. Quinn Ohler reports.
Visit the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation website to learn more about Canada’s involvement in all 10 battles highlighted at the 2018 ceremony.
The No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation held remembrance ceremonies in 101 cemeteries from coast to coast in 2017, involving more than 8,000 students placing poppies on the headstones of more than 49,000 armed forces members.
Watch below: Previous coverage of No Stone Left Alone