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Honouring Veterans All Year, Every Year
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All veterans deserve to be remembered with the deepest appreciation and respect, whether they served in Europe or Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan or beyond. Arbor Memorial’s commitment to their lasting remembrance is ongoing, 365 days a year, with a special focus on the life of each unique individual, their contribution, their personality, their story.
When Arbor professionals were asked about the most enduring moments of their careers, it’s not surprising that many reported the services for a veteran among their most memorable.
In one such case, an Arbor staff member recalls taking part in the final ceremonies for a WWII veteran, a tail-gunner in the Canadian Air Force. Over his life, this gentleman had preserved a fine collection of keepsakes which were beautifully displayed at his ceremony, surrounded by evergreens to symbolize his love of the outdoors.
These precious heirlooms helped bring his history into greater focus for those who had come to honour him. Sharing this memorabilia at his funeral made the recounting of his herosim and courage through multiple missions even more vivid and real. This war story was not a movie. This was a real life, amply worthy of a personalized tribute.
At another location, an Arbor manager went the extra mile on the day a veteran’s family was scheduled to pick up the urn for burial. Before they arrived, in a gesture of the deepest respect, the manager placed the urn in a special ark in the chapel, flanked by the Canadian flag and the flag of the veteran’s division. Medals were displayed and poppies laid out, and as the family approached, the national anthem was softly played in the background.
Arbor is proud that one of our directors, a retired Chief Warrant Officer, is the highest decorated medic in Canada. He met the family in full dress uniform, complete with white gloves and medals, and presented the family with a badge from his Air Force unit. The Officer saluted his fellow veteran’s urn, and then carried it in the procession to the cemetery, led by a piper.
One cemetery manager remembered a particular gentleman he’d assisted. When this 92-year-old veteran’s wife passed away, he decided to plan his own arrangements too, choosing a marker for both their names. With the help of Arbor staff and their designers, two images were created to forever symbolize their lives: one to represent her love of gardening, and the other, a special emblem to signify his time serving on a tank crew.
Many Arbor locations host annual memorial services. Some maintain dedicated military gardens, or place flags on veterans’ markers. Others have granite ‘Walls of Remembrance’ engraved with the names of those who so proudly served their country. But common to every Arbor Funeral Home and Cemetery, is the devotion to celebrating each veteran for the unique facets of their life and individuality, providing comfort to their loved ones, and preserving their personal history for generations to come.