June 17th, 2024

Last Post Fund ensures veterans are remembered with military headstones

By Tim Kalinowski on July 7, 2021.

Submitted photo - Tom McElhinney, Chair of the Poppy Committee, left, Kathy Carlson Hong Kong Veterans Commemoration Association, Yvonne Sugimoto and Glenn Miller of The Last Post Fund, Alberta Branch gather after the ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the poppy and the recent installations of military markers at the Mountain View Cemetery by The Last Post Fund.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Ten local veterans who were first identified back in March as having unmarked graves by the Last Post Fund, have finally received their full military headstones. The Last Post Fund paid tribute to the veterans at a special ceremony at Mountainview Cemetery on Tuesday morning. The event also marked the 100th anniversary of the official use of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance after Canadian poet Lt. Col. John McCrae referenced the flower in his famous poem “In Flanders Fields.”
Alberta Branch Last Post Fund representative Glenn Miller said marking both events at the same time added to the poignancy of the day for those in attendance.
Miller was particularly gratified to be able to honour these veterans by finally remembering their names on the new granite military markers.
“At the time of death if a veteran is denied a dignified funeral, burial, or military marker for lack of sufficient means, we will help,” he says. “That is our primary mandate, and we also have the unmarked grave program which looks for veterans who lie in unmarked graves for more than five years. An unmarked grave could be considered an old wooden cross that has faded over time or deteriorated.”
The ones at Mountainview Cemetery were “pretty well grass,” says Miller before the Last Post Fund’s intervention.
“It is pretty much the family’s responsibility to get a stone, but if they can’t afford it then we might be able to provide assistance through the Last Post Fund,” he confirms.
Miller says the definition of who is a veteran has also changed over time, and the Last Post Fund is there to help as needed to ensure a dignified burial.
“Our definition has evolved and changed over time,” he states. “Now if anyone has completed a basic training and was honourably discharged, they would be considered a veteran.”

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