July 2, 2022

Ceremony continues after volunteers step in to replace stolen wreaths

A wreath laying ceremony honoring members of the Canadian Armed Forces was able to take place this weekend despite the theft of thousands of handmade decorations just a week prior.

Dozens of volunteers gathered, working overtime on Saturday to make new wreaths after nearly 3,000 of them were stolen from a property in Maxville, Ont., southeast of Ottawa in late November .

They worked hard and did enough for Sunday’s ceremony at the National Military Cemetery, located inside Ottawa’s Beechwood Cemetery.

“It was that kick in the teeth and it was really painful, wasn’t it, because you’re stealing from a community,” said Nick McCarthy, vice-president of Wreaths Across Canada, a nonprofit organization. non-profit that creates handmade wreaths to remember and honor service members and their families.

McCarthy praised the extra hours of effort put in by volunteers to keep Sunday’s ceremony running smoothly.

A headstone is adorned with an arch as volunteers from Wreaths Across Canada lay wreaths on the headstones. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Margaret Mackenzie appreciated this effort.

“It speaks to how the military community, veterans, families, serving members and allies truly believe in being together, being connected and doing something,” she said.

Mackenzie knows the challenges and demands that come with being part of a military family. Her husband served in the Canadian Forces for 30 years. They moved dozens of times and spent hundreds of hours apart.

She said wreath laying ceremonies show gratitude to those who have served.

“We wouldn’t be here without this, without all these soldiers helping us,” she said.