Students of Merritt Secondary School (MSS) were once again out honouring Merritt’s veterans and ensuring no stone was left alone for Remembrance Day.

As part of the No Stone Left Alone initiative, officially launched in 2011, Canadians descend on cemeteries around the country to ensure that veterans who have passed are recognized for their service and sacrifice.

According to the No Stone Left Alone website, the origin of the tradition comes from a young woman who wanted to honour her mother.

“In 1971, a child of twelve was having a discussion with her mother who was very ill and near death. Her mother, who was a veteran, stroked the child’s head and asked her not to cry and to try not to forget her on Armistice Day. Through her tears, the young girl looked into her mother’s eyes and nodded, not even understanding what was meant by the word Armistice. Our founder, Maureen Bianchini Purvis, was that young girl. Her mother was Lillian Mary Bianchini, a proud Canadian veteran of WWII. Never missing a year since the passing of her mother, Maureen has gone to the cemetery site to lay a poppy on Remembrance Day. First alone, then with her husband and finally, as soon as they could walk, her two daughters. They would pause at the cenotaph and look out at all the headstones that lay in the Field of Honour in Beechmount Cemetery in Edmonton. Her two little girls would ask, ‘Why don’t the others get a poppy?’”

Bianchini was then inspired to engage youth in activities of Remembrance and ensure every veteran’s grave was marked with a poppy on Remembrance Day.

Last year, a colour party from the Legion was unable to attend, but this year they began the ceremony, marching in with a display of flags. Following this was an acknowledgement of the traditional Indigenous territory by Amanda Lamothe, a brief history lesson given by Mr. Finch, the poem In Flanders Fields, two minutes of silence and a speech by former Lieutenant Governor of BC, Judith Guichon.

Students placed Canadian flags and rocks painted with poppies on the headstones of roughly 35 veterans on Nov. 10 before Lamothe played a song on the traditional flute and the colour party marched off the cemetery grounds.

The Legion Colour Party attending the No Stone Left Alone event.


Amanda Lamothe gives the land acknowledgement.

Former Lieutenant Governor of BC, Judith Guichon, addresses MSS students.

Buzz Manuel and Amanda Lamothe sing a welcome song.


Amanda Lamothe and an MSS student tidy a veteran’s grave.


Legion Colour Party

Buzz Manuel, Amanda Lamothe and former Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon.