Re­mem­ber­ing loved ones

Civil­ian me­mo­rial at Com­mon­wealth War Graves to be un­veiled Sept. 23

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY ADAM RAN­DELL

Some of the crosses may have dis­ap­peared, and there are head­stones with miss­ing in­for­ma­tion, but those laid to rest on the civil­ian side of the Com­mon­wealth War Graves Ceme­tery in Gan­der won’t be for­got­ten.

The war graves con­tain 100 burial sites from the Sec­ond World War. How­ever, fol­low­ing the war, the ceme­tery was used to bury Gan­der’s de­ceased. While the site is main­tained and the air­men are memo­ri­al­ized, ar­eas of the civil­ian side had be­gun to fade.

Ear­lier this year, the Gan­der Lions Club em­barked on a mis­sion to pre­serve the mem­ory of civil­ians laid to rest as part of the international Lions cen­ten­nial, which chal­lenged all chap­ters to leave a life-last­ing project in its com­mu­ni­ties.

That mis­sion has since been ac­com­plished in Gan­der, as the civil­ian mon­u­ment was mounted on Sept. 11, with the names of 580 peo­ple laid to rest. The of­fi­cial un­veil­ing is set

to take place Sun­day, Sept. 23, 2 p.m. at the War Graves site.

Ac­cord­ing to club pres­i­dent Perry Kieley, the me­mo­rial orig­i­nally started with a list of 260 known names, but af­ter con­tact­ing area churches, along with avail­ing of so­cial and news me­dia, that list grew

at an alarm­ing rate. Ap­prox­i­mately 250 of the names have no marker at the site to­day.

“To get that type of re­sponse is ab­so­lutely re­mark­able,” said Kieley. “It goes to show, that even though there are no mark­ers for some of these peo­ple, they were never re­ally for­got­ten.

“The whole goal of this was to make sure peo­ple would re­mem­ber them, and as of now, I feel like we’ve ac­com­plished that.”

The fi­nal project cost hasn’t been to­talled yet, but Kieley said, along with con­tri­bu­tions from the Town of Gan­der, the busi­ness com­mu­nity, and fundraisers sup­ported 100 per cent by the peo­ple of Gan­der and sur­round­ing area, it will pay for the project.

Betty Snow of Car­bon­ear couldn’t help but get a lit­tle emo­tional, speak­ing about it. Af­ter years of search­ing, Snow and her hus­band Den­nis will soon have a place to pay their re­spect to Baby Girl Snow, Den­nis’ sis­ter, who died dur­ing child­birth in Novem­ber 1946. The ex­act lo­ca­tion of her burial was never known.

“She was one of three ba­bies with three crosses buried by the Sal­va­tion Army,” said Snow. “We could never find out which grave was hers, so we could never put a marker on it.”

In reach­ing out to the Lions Club, Baby Girl Snow was the last of the 580 names to be added to the mon­u­ment, which was be­ing en­graved when the Lions Club con­firmed she had been buried there.

“When I was told she would be added, I get emo­tional just think­ing about it, it made my day,” she said, while pass­ing along high praise to the Lions Club for tak­ing on the project.

“To have these peo­ple get some recog­ni­tion af­ter so many years, I think they are ab­so­lute he­roes.”

Snow is hop­ing it will help de­ter­mine the ex­ac­tion lo­ca­tion of Baby Girl Snow’s rest­ing place.

“Now that this is com­ing out, we are hop­ing we can find more in­for­ma­tion on these ba­bies, as we’d like to be able to put a stone in place, with her birth on it,” she said.

Un­til then, the me­mo­rial gives them a place to pay their re­spects.

Jerry Pretty, now liv­ing in Bed­ford, Nova Sco­tia, visit’s the site ev­ery year, to carry out main­te­nance at the rest­ing place of his brother – Bob Pretty. His brother was 14 years old when he suc­cumbed to in­juries sus­tained af­ter be­ing struck by a drunk driver on Christ­mas night in 1971.

His fa­ther, Harry Pretty, who passed 11 years ago, was cre­mated and buried with his son at the site as well.

Vis­it­ing the Com­mon­wealth War Graves ear­lier this year, he

ADAM RAN­DELL — THE CEN­TRAL VOICE

Clarice Goodyear, who as­sisted the Gan­der Lions Club with its pur­chase of the ceno­taph, was on hand for the mount­ing of the mon­u­ment Sept 11 She has lived in Gan­der since 1956 and rec­og­nizes many of the names Pic­tured, Goodyear points to Wal­ter God­den, a dear friend of her late hus­band Joe The two de­vel­oped their friend­ship through the Lions Club

PHOTOS BY ADAM RAN­DELL — THE CEN­TRAL VOICE

The me­mo­rial will be of­fi­cially un­veiled at the Com­mon­wealth War Graves, Sun­day, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m. All are wel­come to at­tend.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Jerry Pretty, orig­i­nally from Gan­der, now liv­ing in Nova Sco­tia, has two fam­ily mem­bers be­ing re­mem­bered through the me­mo­rial.

In an ef­fort to re­mem­ber those who have been laid to rest on the civil­ian side of Gan­der’s Com­mon­wealth War Graves, the town’s Lions Club em­barked upon a me­mo­rial project ear­lier this year. It started out with 260 names, but af­ter putting a call out to the pub­lic, the me­mo­rial now con­tains the names of 580 peo­ple. Pic­tured, at the mon­u­ment, are Lions Club mem­bers Perry Kieley, left, and Rus­sell Rogers.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Be­cause of the me­mo­rial, and af­ter years of search­ing, Den­nis and Betty Snow will now have a place to pay their re­spects to Baby Girl Snow, Den­nis’ sis­ter, who was laid to rest at an un­known gravesite in 1946.

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