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October 27, 2017 8:43 pm

Marked With Respect

Sunday, October 16, 2016 @ 3:17 PM
Jayden Brideau watches as Neil Boyes places flag on grave of  Private Kirby Tott

Jayden Brideau watches as Neil Boyes places flag on grave of Private Kirby Tott

Prince George, B.C.- About 100 volunteers turned out this afternoon to  place a Canadian flag on each and every veteran’s grave in the Prince George Cemetery.“We have over a thousand,  maybe as many  as 12 hundred  graves to mark” says Joe Elliot,  a member of the Royal Canadian  Legion Branch 43 executive.

The volunteers today included  Scouts,  Cubs,  Beavers  and their leaders,  RCMP,  Legion members, members of the general public   and  MLA Shirley Bond. who, like the others,  quietly went about the task of locating the graves on the list she was given  and placing a flag on  those graves.

The list  of veterans graves  is  growing “Every year, we find more” says Elliot  as  each year  the Legion is made aware of  another person  who served  who has either just passed,  or their grave had not previously  been  included.  “It’s not just veterans we are marking today” says Elliot as  graves of former RCMP and First Responders  are included in this flag  event. “One of the main things in the Legion is to educate the  general public  and remembrance of the service our  fellow Canadians have done” says Elliot.

While the  placing of the flags is one  way to pay respect,  Elliot says  there is an unintended  result ,  as  those driving past the cemetery  on  Highway 16   will experience the  visual impact of today’s  event,   “When you see a sea of red and white flags,  and then you  realize how many veterans are buried here”.

It is already very personal  for Neil Boyes.

A former  weapons specialist  with  the Canadian Air force from 1980  to 2003,  Boyes  was responsible for bomb disposal.   It was a  task that has caused him to lose some of his hearing.  Today, he,  along with his Godson Jayden Brideau,  were among the volunteers  tasked with  placing flags  on veterans  graves.  “This is  very important.  I lost a lot of  very good friends” says Boyes ” I lost a lot of very close team members, team mates.  To see the community  come out  and  rally  like this ( to help place flags)  is just amazing to see, all the young kids hopefully  learning the next steps.  This is a fabulous civic duty for them all.”

Joe Elliot says  the Legion wants to know if there are others interred  in the cemetery who should  be honoured with a  Canadian flag “If there is anyone  in Prince George who knows there is a veteran  buried here  who  may not be on the list, please let us know,   we don’t want to miss anyone.”


Here is a short list of war veterans who are Lheidli T’enneh, might want to contact that First Nation to help locate their graves, if they have passed on.

Jack Alexander, John William Baker, Royal Baker, Charlie Brasie, Alex Paul, Max Pius, William (Bill) Regan (he might be Metis).

There was a lot of blood spilled on the battlefields, and regardless of skin colour, all of that blood was red.

I saw the flags there today and wondered why they were there.

Thank you to the Legion for honouring Canadian veterans and first responders.

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