Editor’s Note: The following is a first-person story by Editor Abby Cameron.
URBANIA: As I write this, I’m just finishing up an amazing afternoon with my grandmother, Pearl Cameron. As part of the Shubenacadie Branch 111 Legion Ladie’s Auxillary, she, along with several other members of the ladies’ auxiliary, place flags on the gravestones of Veterans in cemeteries which fall within the Legion’s coverage area.
Nan tackles six cemeteries between Rine’s Creek and Lattie’s Brook. The number of flags out now is more than 70.
This year, we had some extra help as I brought along Will and Cooper, my two nephews. Sure, I think they were excited to be getting out of school a few hours early, but I think the message of why honouring the fallen came across.
Each year, I share the story of Pte. LW Robinson, one of my grandfather’s best friends, who was killed in action while literally standing inches from my Grampie. Hearing my Nan tell my nephews that story was emotional on a new level than experiencing it for myself, as I hope it’s something they take to heart the way many in our family have, and have a little more appreciation for the sacrifices made for them, for me, for all of us.
Will and Cooper each put the flag in Pte. LW Robinson’s grave marker, asking questions about why his marker is here, but why he is buried in Holland. They asked a lot of questions and Nan did a perfect job of answering truthfully, yet keeping the answers age appropriate for the boys.
The first cemetery down, we made the drive to Lattie’s Brook cemetery. This is the biggest one we tackle and can be difficult to identify all of the markers, as many have the same names but we always seem to get it done.
It was here at I think the real toll of what we were doing set in for my older nephew, Will. He started really taking note of the dates, and was able to pick out the stones of who died in action and you could see the dots connect for him.
Our last stop was to the cemetery in South Maitland. This one holds special for our family, as it is the resting place of William Cameron, my grandfather, and the boys’ great-grandfather. It’s here we spend a little extra time paying tribute to a man I wish I had more time with. A man who I feel I know completely because my grandmother and family have made a point to keep his memory alive. Mainly through funny stories. I like to think he is who I got my sense of humour from, as I’ve never grown tired of hearing the great stories. Many aren’t appropriate for print.
I do know he was a man of great strength. One like many who returned home from duty, and of that I’m extremely proud.
And I know that he would be proud of his wife, who this year will be honoured for 50 years dedication and service to the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Shubenacadie Legion. I know our entire family is more than proud of our matriarch, who shows us on a regular basis what a truly kind, caring, graceful, funny, loving person looks like.
Spending a few hours putting flags out with Nan every year is such a blessing, to be able to witness her true respect for the Veterans makes me appreciative of the family I get to be a part of.