Vernon cemetery, site of No Stone Left Alone memorial ceremony
Despite pouring rain, dozens of people, many of them elementary students, gathered at Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Vernon on Thursday morning.
The gathering was part of a nation-wide initiative that honours Canadian veterans.
“We need to remember the soldiers that have passed and fought for us,” Grade 7 student Kaelyn Burnett said.
Burnett was one of about 80 students from Harwood and Beairsto elementary schools who took part in the No Stone Left Alone ceremony, an observance that has young people laying poppies on the headstones of veterans.
“It’s so important that the people who did it for us, so we didn’t have to, get to be remembered,” Grade 7 student Brooke Hansen said.
The ceremony also included members of the B.C. Dragoons and the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 25.
Those attending Thursday’s ceremony placed poppies on more than 500 veteran headstones at Pleasant Valley Cemetery.
“Once they approach the headstone, the student will say the name of the person on the marker and lay a poppy and then they have a moment of reflection,” said Lawrna Myers with the No Stone Left Alone Foundation.
No Stone Left Alone started in 2011 in Edmonton after an 11-year-old girl asked her parents why poppies weren’t laid on all soldiers headstones for Remembrance Day.
Last year, more than 8,000 students placed poppies in 101 cemeteries across Canada,
While Thursday’s rain wasn’t ideal, local organizers said it was actually quite fitting.
“This is what 70 per cent of World War One was like apparently, so it’s very appropriate that the weather is cold and damp today,” Myers said.
Students were also quick to put the unpleasant conditions into perspective.
“They had it a lot worse,” Grade 7 student Cora Van Vliet said. “They had to stand in the rain and fight, while we are just standing in the rain and saying thank you.”
No Stone Left Alone ceremonies are also taking place in Kelowna, Penticton and Lumby.
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