Mill­brook re­mem­bers

Coun­cil­lor in­spires the young to hon­our those who served


It’s never too early to start teach­ing chil­dren about the im­por­tance of Re­mem­brance Day, Colin Bernard be­lieves.

The sig­nif­i­cance was driven home some years ago while he was chap­er­on­ing a group of Sec­ond World War vet­er­ans on a tour of their com­rades’ graves in Hol­land.

“They do so much there. It’s amaz­ing,” the Mill­brook First Na­tion band coun­cil­lor and mem­ber of its Vet­er­ans Com­mit­tee said.

e Nether­lands was lib­er­ated by the Al­lies from the oc­cu­pa­tion of Nazi Ger­many on May 5, 1945 and Re­mem­brance Day there is held May 4.

This week, stand­ing in Mill­brook’s Sa­cred Heart Ceme­tery un­der a slight driz­zle of rain, Bernard re­counted a par­tic­u­larly spe­cial mo­ment just prior to the pa­rade dur­ing that visit in 2001.

“It’s two o’clock in the af­ter­noon and I look at a kid sit­ting on a road and I said: ‘How long you been there?’

“He goes: ‘I’ve been here since 7:30 in the morn­ing … I want to make sure I see my he­roes.’”

Both Bernard’s grand­fa­thers served dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and he is a strong ad­vo­cate of en­sur­ing his peo­ple’s vet­er­ans are not for­got­ten.

As is the case in other com­mu­ni­ties this time of year, power poles along the streets in Mill­brook bear ban­ners with names and pic­tures of vet­er­ans past. Last year, how­ever, the Vet­er­ans Com­mit­tee de­cided to ex­pand that e ort to in­clude ban­ners of vet­er­ans who are still liv­ing.

For the vet­er­ans who have passed on, the ban­ners read: “Mill­brook First Na­tion re­mem­bers those who served.”

For those still liv­ing, they read: “Mill­brook First Na­tion hon­ours those who served.”

In ad­di­tion to mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, that in­cludes band mem­bers who have be­come po­lice o cers.

“ ey also said it’s im­por­tant to rec­og­nize our law en­force­ment,” Bernard said, “be­cause they are do­ing the same types of du­ties.”

Fri­day morn­ing, Bernard will be back at the ceme­tery to wit­ness a group of preschool­ers plac­ing Mi’kmaq ags on the graves of the he­roes buried there.

e band has also cre­ated lapel pins bear­ing the Mi’kmaq, Cana­dian and Amer­i­can ags, avail­able to ev­ery­one who at­tends their Re­mem­brance Day ser­vices.

And this year, for the rst time, the band has cre­ated weath­er­proof grave mark­ers with the same sym­bols.

“We want to make sure the kids know where the grave sites are, so they can each have a ag and go right to the graves,” Bernard said. “ ey feel more in­volved when they do that.”

Next year he hopes to some­how in­volve the band’s ju­nior high and high school stu­dents in some ca­pac­ity.

“One of the things I said I was go­ing to do be­fore I leave this earth my­self was make sure that these guys are re­mem­bered,” he said. “Be­cause we don’t know, and we don’t un­der­stand how lucky we are that we’re able to vote. We’re able to work, we’re able to play, we’re able to live and do all these things. at’s why it’s im­por­tant for me to get our kids more in­volved.”


Mill­brook band coun­cil­lor Colin Bernard shows the new grave mark­ers that have been placed in front of head­stones of the com­mu­nity’s war vet­er­ans prior to Fri­day, when a group of preschool­ers will be ar­riv­ing to place Mi’kmaq ags in front of each. At right is one of the many ban­ners posted in the com­mu­nity to hon­our vet­er­ans.


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