The No Stone Left Alone Memorial FoundationPublished on 21 November 2011 Hansard and Statements by Senator Tommy Banks (retired)
Hon. Tommy Banks:
Honourable senators, in May of this year, Senator Dickson and I had the great honour and privilege of attending in Holland during that country’s celebration of the sixty-fifth anniversary of its liberation by Canadian and allied armies. During that visit, we attended ceremonies in several Canadian military cemeteries in Holland and learned of the great care that is given to the gravesites in those cemeteries by Dutch school students. It gave us a new understanding of the meaning of eternal gratitude. It seems odd to us that this tender care that is given to the graves of our men and women in far-flung foreign fields is not always the case when their graves are in military cemeteries here in Canada.
Fourteen years ago, a 10-year-old girl in Edmonton was visiting Edmonton’s Beechmount Cemetery to place poppies on the graves of her grandparents, both of whom served in World War II. She wondered at the time why the graves of so many other soldiers were left bare and unattended. It bothered her every year, all those years, and then she and her family decided to do something about it. The results of the efforts of Keely Yates and her parents, Randall and Maureen Purvis, and their family is called the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation.
This year, Edmonton students, joined by members of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), laid poppies on 3,700 military graves in the Beechmount Cemetery, and their plans are to expand and extend this movement to include other cemeteries
in Edmonton and in other cities to ensure that in Canada, eventually, as it spreads, none of the graves of the 105,000 military buried in Canada are left alone and unattended on November 11.
I know that honourable senators will join in the gratitude and congratulations of the Senate of Canada to this movement, to its founders and to its participants.