Fredericton cadets paint rocks to honour veterans

·2 min read

On a Remembrance Day with scaled-back ceremonies and no large crowds because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of cadets in Fredericton managed to stay involved with a service on the city's north side.

The Marysville ceremony typically attracts hundreds of people every Nov. 11 to witness the hour-long service at the cenotaph at Veterans Memorial Park.

This year's service was reduced to 10 minutes. It didn't include a parade or the reading of the hundreds of names the honour roll contains.

Organizers asked the public not to attend this year's ceremony.

"We wanted to keep it as small as possible due to this COVID, and that has worked fine this year," said Larry Belyea, the president of the Marysville Legion.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

When word that the ceremony was going to be abbreviated and not include a parade, one group of cadets that would normally participate in the service was understanding, but disappointed.

So the teenage group of approximately 20 came up with an idea to show their support at the cenotaph by painting rocks with messages of appreciation to the veterans and had them placed around the memorial.

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

Chuck Madott, president of the steering committee for the Fredericton North 3059 Army Cadets, said it was important the group somehow show their support at the ceremony.

"All public activities and gatherings while they're in a cadet uniform is against the current rules, so they just had to stay home," Madott said. "They had a need to do something."

The group painted about 20 rocks with phrases like "Lest We Forget," along with paintings of poppies, flags and crosses.

"Whatever each child thought represented Remembrance Day," Madott said.

He said while the group wished to be there in person, it was a satisfying way to show their support.

"It enabled them to have some sort of sense of normalcy," he said. "They weren't physically here, but they had a physical presence here — it's important to them."

The group meets on Monday nights. Madott said they spent the last couple of meetings working on the project.