Canadians who volunteer to preserve our history are to be commended. Each is inspired by a personal reason to ensure our past is not forgotten. Heather and John Caldwell have been participants in re-enactment groups travelling to events in Canada and the United States for many years, and are members of the Canadian Military Heritage Society. When I asked why they do what they do, Heather responded, “A love of history, Canadian particularly, and being with like-minded people. The reenacting community is a weirdly great bunch. We do this to honour the people who fought these wars to give us what we have now. It brings history to life in so many ways that books can’t and we love sharing that knowledge with others.”
I had asked Heather if there were any such events on their summer agenda and, as fate would have it, they were travelling to Belleville, Ont., the following day to participate in a unique service at the cenotaph in Memorial Park. The 1 p.m. program had been in the works for some time and, due to dedicated members of the community, three names of Belleville residents who lost their lives in WWI were to be added to the cenotaph. Included were Lt. David Alwyn Forneri, nursing sister Agnes Florien Forneri (brother and sister) and Flight S/Lt Ellis Vair Reid, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) during his years of service. Coincidentally, the day of the dedication, July 29, 2019, was the 102nd anniversary of Flight S/Lt Reid’s death.
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Thursday, April 18, 2019. It was Senior Skip Day at Christ’s Church Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. A big deal for 17-year-old friends Heather Brown and Tyler Smith. They had been looking forward to this high school milestone all year. Along with six other seniors, they decided to spend the day at popular Vilano Beach, near St. Augustine. Spurred on by brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the eighties, the teens had planned a full day of swimming, sunbathing and beach volleyball. There was a High Hazard flag—a red flag warning beachgoers of “high surf and/or strong currents”— hoisted on the beach’s parking lot flagpole as the teens arrived, but they rushed past it.