grave decoration day

Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 conducts grave decoration day

 

By Jonathan Martin

 

A solemn, uniformed procession lined the pathways of Rose Hill Cemetery Sunday in honour of deceased members of the Royal Canadian Legion and returned veterans who died over the past year.

Members of the Legion, Cadet Corps., Knights of Columbus and the community at large wandered through the cemetery, looking for graves marked by service records.  When one was found, a small paper Canadian flag was planted next to the name.

Amherstburg town councillor Diane Pouget plants a flag on a veteran’s grave with Cpt. Jeff Turner, commanding officer of the 202nd Fort Malden Windsor Regiment Army Cadet Corps.

“This is our way of paying respect to this past year’s fallen Legion members and veterans,” said Cpt. Jeff Turner, commanding officer of the 202nd Fort Malden Windsor Regiment Army Cadet Corps.

Turner said the day, termed “flag decoration day,” is about paying homage to veterans who returned home from service and then died on Canadian soil.

The parade stopped twice before spreading out over the graveyard.  Both times, bagpipes sounded and large flags were taken down from the cemetery’s flagpoles.  Legion members solemnly folded the old, faded flags and then replaced them with new ones.

“That’s something we started a couple years ago,” Turner said.  “We noticed the cemetery’s flags were in disrepair, so we started replacing them every year.”

This year, though, there was a hitch in the ceremony.  He ropes and grommets from the flagpoles are twisted and worn.  Getting the flags back up was difficult.  Councillor Diane Pouget attended the event and shook her head at the state of the flagpoles.

The 202nd Fort Malden Windsor Regiment Army Cadet Corps., Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 and the Amherstburg Knights of Columbus march down the paths of Rose Hill Cemetery June 3. The groups planted flags on veterans’ graves as a show of thanks for their service.

“I’m going to go back to the town and explain to them that they need some work done here,” she said.  “The Legion is very, very important to the Town of Amherstburg. I’m sure they’ll be willing to participate in this project.”

Pouget thanked the veterans and active service members in the crowd for their service and planted a flag of her own on a few of the cemetery’s gravestones and markers.

“We are very, very grateful for everything you have done and continue to do in the service of our community,” Pouget said, addressing the crowd.  “It is important that we honour those men and women who left our town knowing full-well they might not return. Today is about that.”