Help vet­er­ans with dig­ni­fied burial

Regina Leader-Post - - OPINION -

As we ap­proach this Re­mem­brance Day, the 100th an­niver­sary of the First World War ar­mistice, we re­flect upon the fact that the more than 650,000 Cana­dian vet­er­ans of the First World War are now all gone. Ac­cord­ing to Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Canada ( VAC), there re­main 48,000 vet­er­ans of the Sec­ond World War and the Korean War. Th­ese “tra­di­tional” vet­er­ans are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a very high mor­tal­ity rate. Fact is, within just a few years all vet­er­ans of the Sec­ond World War will have passed into his­tory as well.

Es­tab­lished in 1909, the Last Post Fund (LPF) is a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion whose mis­sion is to en­sure that no vet­eran is de­nied a dig­ni­fied fu­neral and burial, as well as a mil­i­tary grave­stone, due to in­suf­fi­cient funds at time of death.

Since its in­cep­tion, the LPF has ar­ranged for the re­spect­ful fu­neral and burial of more than 153,000 fi­nan­cially chal­lenged vet­er­ans.

Ac­cord­ing to VAC, the num­ber of mod­ern-day vet­er­ans (post Korea 1953) stands at just over 600,000 and this year nearly 225 mod­ern-day vet­er­ans will re­quire fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance with fu­neral and burial … and the Last Post Fund will be there to as­sist in time of need.

The Last Post Fund owns and op­er­ates the Na­tional Field of Hon­our and Colum­bar­ium lo­cated in Pointe Claire, Que.

More than 22,000 mil­i­tary fu­ner­als and buri­als have taken place there since this unique ceme­tery opened in 1930.

The Na­tional Field of Hon­our be­came a Na­tional His­toric Site in 2009 and is the only Cana­dian ceme­tery en­tirely de­voted to vet­er­ans and their close ones.

In 1996, the LPF cre­ated the Un­marked Grave Pro­gram to en­sure that all vet­er­ans’ graves are ul­ti­mately iden­ti­fied with a proper mil­i­tary head­stone. Nearly 3,500 un­marked graves have been iden­ti­fied so far and mil­i­tary head­stones have been placed in each case.

The Last Post Fund is sup­ported fi­nan­cially by Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Canada and by pri­vate do­na­tion and be­quest.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to do­nate to the Last Post Fund see last­post­fund.ca or call 1-800-465-7113.

Col. (ret’d) Randy Brooks, Regina Brooks is pro­vin­cial pres­i­dent of the Last Post Fund.

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