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, she looked into her mother’s eyes and nodded, not even understanding what was meant by the word Armistice.
Never missing a year since the passing of her mother, she 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’ receive a poppy?”
For years, she provided possible reasons until they grew up and declared, “Mom, I think we should make sure they all get one.” Knowing time was fleeting she decided to try to do that. She started with the help of a few friends, but the number of headstones was overwhelming. She wrote a letter to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, who gave his blessing and encouraged her to begin. Next she contacted the Minister of Education and then she met a young Lieutenant-Colonel who said, “We can do this.”
No Stone Left Alone was launched in 2011 by Mrs. Maureen G. Bianchini-Purvis in recognition of the sacrifice of the Canadian men and women who have lost their lives in the service of peace, at home and abroad. It became her mission to see that one day all of the soldiers' headstones would have a poppy placed in their honour and the cemetery would resemble the idea of Flanders Fields where the poppies grow "row on row."