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Beechwood Cemetery: A month of remembrance

Students participate in ensuring every soldier is honoured at the National Military Cemetery

Beechwood Cemetery, Funeral and Cremation Services is well known for its remembrance programs.

Remembrance Day, and all that it stands for, is very important to Beechwood as this cemetery contains sections dedicated to the defense and security forces that protect Canadians and serve abroad.

“Our remembrance programs actually start during the last Friday in October,” says Nicolas McCarthy, Director of Marketing. “On our National Day of Tribute – Service Day, different landscaping companies come from all over Ottawa and go through the Military Cemetery to clean, seed, aerate and make sure the section looks it best.”

This is followed by the No Stone Left Unturned program on November 1. 

In it’s sixth year, this program sees school students join members of the armed forces to place poppies on every soldier’s headstone in the National Military Cemetery. The event is supported by the 76th Communications Regiment. 

“It is very impactful to see a couple hundred children placing poppies on that day,” says McCarthy. “It is an educational experience for them and ensures every grave is remembered, even if the family cannot visit or all family members have passed on.”

A week of remembrance sees tours of the military cemetery, culminating in the November 11th ceremony.

“It is one of our busiest days,” says McCarthy. “Events start at 10:45 a.m. People stand with their family’s grave markers or with their comrades. Everyone says thanks for the service, the life lived, and for protecting Canada at home and abroad. It is not just war that involves our veterans. For any major disaster, like wildfires or COVID, the military is deployed. We should all be thankful for that.”

McCarthy closes by quoting his colleague: “meaningful work is hard to find, and nothing is more meaningfully than being able to do the last great thing for someone.”

He smiles. “That is what we do during our remembrance programs; the last great thing for many deserving service members.”

Learn more about these programs online.

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