Man vows to clean every soldier's gravestone in his hometown
‘To let them know that they are not forgotten, that I will not forget them’
A man has spent weeks cleaning and scrubbing the gravestones of Canadian veterans in Drumheller in Alberta's badlands, vowing to do it for every soldier there who paid the ultimate price.
The purpose, says Eric Dahl, is, "To let them know that they are not forgotten, that I will not forget them."
"I would like to be an example to show my children what one person can do and if you want to, you can make a difference whether other people notice or not," he told CBC News. "I really like what I am doing right now."
The father of five lives in Drumheller, Alta., about 130 kilometres northeast of Calgary.
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Dahl started his project about three weeks ago but has no plans to stop anytime soon.
"I am not going to stop. I am going to make sure that every veteran in here is taken care of. They are family. This is somebody's family. It is not just a name on a stone," Dahl explained.
"It is just too easy in this day and age, I feel, that they get forgotten when we get wrapped up in our own lives."
He says there is some symbolism in cleaning the graves of veterans.
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'Neglected and forgotten'
"It is to clean off the gravestones and to clear away a little bit of what Mother Nature has left behind. What Mother Nature has left behind is a sign of how I feel that these men have been neglected and forgotten," he said.
Dahl hopes at some point to visit his grandfather's grave across the pond.
"I would absolutely adore to go to England. To be able to take care of my grandfather's mates, would be an incredible honour for me. It would be a tick off my bucket list," he said.
"I would like to be able to honour them and their families and my grandfather, one of their mates, by going over there and taking care of them or making sure that they are taken care of."
But that will have to wait for a bit, because he's got his work cut out for him in Drumheller.
"I won't quit. I don't care if it takes six months or a year, if I can find a way to keep doing this in the dead of winter, I will."
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With files from Evelyne Asselin