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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Collaborative effort cleans WWI, WWII crosses and epitaph at Cottam Cemetery

by Sylene Argent

with photo submitted

To honour veterans and fallen soldiers leading up to Remembrance Day, members of the 2nd Cottam Scouts, HMCS Hunter Navy Reserve Division of Windsor, and the Ford Motor Company Veterans group rolled up their sleeves to clean the WWI and WWII crosses and epitaph at Cottam Cemetery, near Trinity Anglican Church, on Saturday.

The opportunity allowed uniformed Sailors to work with local Scouting youth and Veterans on a worthy cause, Scouter Dan Ireland, said.

Ireland noted for nearly a year, he and Sergeant, Roger Mercer, have worked to get approval to undertake a community service project from the Town of Kingsville, the Navy, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which maintain the thousands of veteran memorials and grave markers posted throughout Canada.

The idea of cleaning the crosses and epitaph was to ensure the area is properly showcased for all upcoming Remembrance Day ceremonies, which take place in the cemetery.

The 16 crosses are markers that pay tribute to those of the area who lost their lives during WWI and WWII.

“These simple stones are the last vestiges that families have of their fallen loved ones,” Ireland said during the clean-up event. “This small area represents the thousands of men and women [who] have fallen, and [to those who] continue to give their lives everyday in service to our fine country.”

Ireland said it is his goal the Veterans of the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) are humbled and awestruck by the showing of support of this small group when they arrive to participate in the Remembrance Day ceremony in the cemetery on November 11. He hopes others will take up the important cause going forward to show respect.

Ireland thanked everyone who participated in the coordination of the event, and those who participated in the clean-up.

“As part of Veterans’ Week, our team from HMCS Hunter was glad to contribute to the work of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission in cleaning and maintaining veterans’ cemeteries. We worked with the Cottam Scouts and Ford Veterans’ Group on this project and are touched to see the care and commitment the community has in remembering our Veterans. Thank you to the members of our community and beyond that have done so much for all Canadians,” Sub-Lieutenant Andy Batto of the HMCS Hunter said of joining the event.

“It was an honour to tend to the resting places of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. I hope those who happen across them see the significance of their sacrifice, and I hope that our work here, today, inspires people to come, visit, and pay their respects,” Petty Officer 2nd Class, Dave Cada of the HMCS Hunter added.

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