It will be the 10th year for the memorial service, 'No Stone Left Alone' at the Brandon Ceremony this week Friday where approximately 1000 students from Ecole Harrison, St. Augustine School, River heights, and WCHA, will place poppies at the gravesites of about 1700 veterans.

Brandon resident, Ryan Lawson, read about the special ceremony that started in Edmonton, AB over 10 years ago and approached the Ecole Harrison School principal with the idea. It was embraced and continued to grow.

That was in 2013, and what started out as about 300 students visiting the Veteran Section of the Brandon Cemetery has grown to include Canadian Forces members from CFB Shilo and 26th Field Regiment Reservists.  As well, there will be a fly-by by members of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) at this Friday's ceremony.

Ryan Lawson continues to organize the event. "We try to focus on the kids seeing that this is real, it's not just something that they've read in a book or watched on tv. These are things that have actually happened over time, and we hope never to have happen again."

Students place poppies on each of the military gravestones and take the time to stop and read the names, read the dates of birth and their death, "and we help them realize that there might be some who were 80 or 90 years old, but there are also some who are 18-, 19- or 20-year-olds that are out there too," he shares.

No Stone Left Alone Brandon was the first ceremony east of Edmonton and now there are numerous ceremonies like this held across the province, for students and the public to participate in.

"That's the main goal is to have every military member's stone recognized for Remembrance Day," says Lawson.

"This is something that I would recommend to every school and every town," he adds. "Some towns may not have big military sections in their cemetery but even something to get the word out.  It's a great initiative and any donations that do get made do stay in your community to help with your ceremony."

"With our local ceremony, our local Royal Canadian Legion Branch #3 they donate upwards of 1500 poppies for us to place these poppies out at the cemetery, and the Legion members have been amazing, and they just love how the kids are involved," shares Lawson. "It's just a great way to recognize the past, and hopefully for the past never to happen again."  

Please do listen to more with Ryan Lawson below.

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No Stone Left Alone Ceremony in Brandon:

When: Friday, 3 November 2023 – 10:00 to 10:45 am

Where: Brandon Cemetery – Veterans Section (1901 – 18 Street)

There will be a fly by performed by the RCAF, weather permitting. Along with approximately 50 soldiers from CFB Shilo, 2PPCLI, 26 Field Regiment and the RCHA

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No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation is dedicated to honouring and remembering Canada’s veterans. Our unique ceremony provides students and youth with an authentic experience that creates knowledge, understanding and appreciation of those who serve and of the sacrifice of Canada’s fallen.

The mission is to honour the sacrifice and service of Canada’s military by educating students and placing poppies on the headstones of veterans every November, with a vision of our youth, remembering Canada’s veterans, every year, forever.

In 2022: 9,778 students from 168 communities honoured 79,896 veterans in 226 events.

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