Local Cadets participate in Wreaths Across Canada

Provided by 325 Cornwall Kiwanis Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron
Local Cadets participate in Wreaths Across Canada
AC Peyton Andre salutes after placing a wreath on the gravestone of LAC James MacMillan, located at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Cornwall.

Since 2015, local Air, Army, and Sea cadets have participated in Wreaths Across Canada. This year was no different for 13 cadets from 325 Cornwall Kiwanis Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron and Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Stormont. On Sunday December 5th, 2021, sixty five wreaths were placed on gravestones of men and women who served in the Canadian Armed Forces throughout Cornwall and South Stormont.

This was the 7th year for cadets in what has become an annual event. The purpose of Wreaths Across Canada is to continue the commitment to always remember those who served for our country. The phrase We Will Remember is always associated with Remembrance Day, however, most do not continue to remember beyond the November 11th timeframe. This is an event in which youth can continue the commitment to always remember.

“Wreaths Across Canada is much more than just laying a wreath. It is important to remember our fallen troops even outside of Remembrance Day “said Sgt Treyson Garner, a cadet with 325 RCACS. “Whenever I laid down a wreath, I thought about the life this fallen soldier had lived, and what they did so we could live ours in peace. This was a way of showing our great gratitude to those who were unable to make it back home. That is what Wreaths Across Canada means to me.”

Being able to participate in Wreaths Across Canada takes on a special meaning for PO1 Maylee Larking, a Sea Cadet with Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Stormont. “It is a privilege to be able to recognize soldiers who have sacrificed their lives to allow me the freedoms and rights that I have today. Being able to lay a wreath on my great-grandfather’s grave is a huge honor as I can recognize the service and sacrifices, he has made for his friends, family, and the country as a whole” says Larkin.

Wreaths Across Canada was established by WO (Ret’d) Craig McPhee after being inspired by a similar event in Arlington, Virginia. The event is held on the first Sunday of December with a goal of honouring the thousands of men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who lay in plots across the country. The main activities of Wreaths Across Canada are focused on the National Military Cemetery, located at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa.

This year, the wreaths were handmade by student at Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School. Both elementary and secondary students were part of the team who made 120 wreaths under the supervision of Mr. Nigel Carlisle. The wreaths were made of evergreens boughs, with a red bow attached.

Part of the mission of Wreaths Across Canada is to honour those who served Canada as members of our military forces, and teach Canadian youth the value of freedom. This speaks volumes to the role in which local cadets and students had in ensuring those laid to rest locally are remembered.

The wreaths made by CCVS were for cadets in Cornwall and Glengarry, covering 21 cemeteries through Cornwall, South Stormont, South Glengarry, and North Glengarry in partnership with cadets from 253 Claude Nunney VC Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, located in Lancaster.

Every year the list of gravesites covered by the local cadet units continues to grow. The list has
grown from 27 in its original year to 120 this year. Every year, cadets continue to find additional
gravesites to honour, and this year was no different. While placing wreaths this year, cadets in Cornwall found an additional 38 gravestones which will be added to the list for next year.

The cost of the wreaths is currently covered by the Cornwall Air Cadet squadron. Donations and
sponsorships are certainly appreciated to assist in covering the cost to remember and honour those who served for Canada.

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