Military families, military officials and members of the public will unite at the Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa on Sunday, Dec. 3 to place a wreath on the headstone of every veteran buried at this National Military Cemetery.
An annual tradition sponsored by Wreaths Across Canada Inc. (WAC), a non-profit organization, this ceremony is held on the first Sunday of December, just before the holiday season.
“It’s the beginning of the holiday season, and it’s an opportunity to make sure that they’re [veterans] just not remembered on the day of [Remembrance Day] but that their spirit is with us through the Christmas season,” said Frank Larabie, President WAC.
Several ceremonies will be held across the country, besides the national ceremony at Beechwood Cemetery, including two in Winnipeg, MB and one in Newfoundland. Each of these ceremonies begins at 1:30 p.m.
An additional ceremony is also held at the Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa on the morning of Dec. 3. This ceremony includes participation from cadets. Including the youth in the annual WAC ceremonies is a must, says Larabie.
“We want to make sure they take the time to remember and understand what these people have done,” noted Larabie.
Each ceremony includes a military component and concludes with all participants laying a real balsam wreaths on the headstones of thousands of Canadian veterans.
WAC was launched in 2007 by veteran Craig McPhee. The first ever Wreaths Across Canada ceremony was held in December 2009. A national ceremony has been held at Beechwood Cemetery since 2011.
The ceremonies have exponentially grown in the last few years and in 2016 more than 1,500 people attended.
WAC promises that the experience will be a moving and an emotional one, as Canadians take the time out to think about the young and old who gave their life for this country.
“It’s a chance, an opportunity, to recognize all of their efforts and their contributions not only to Canada, but all the memories they made with their families over the years,” said Larabie.
For more information visit the Wreaths Across Canada website.