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Pointe-Claire cemetery, unique in Canada, is final salute to veterans from as far back as War of 1812

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Montreal -

It’s the only cemetery in Canada dedicated exclusively to veterans and their family -- a final resting place assuring all veterans receive a proper burial.

“We have a little over 22,000 people buried here,” said Michel Crowe, a Canadian armed forces veteran and former legal advisor to the Last Post Fund.

That includes "roughly 17,000 veterans, plus a number of wives of those veterans," he said.

The Last Post Fund was founded by Arthur Hair. A veteran himself, Hair decided no veteran who passes away should be left behind.

“Mr. Hair and others in 1909 decided to create the Last Post Fund, which was a private organization intended to ensure that all veterans and military people would be buried in a dignified way,” Crowe said.

Interred amongst the thousands at the cemetery are veterans of both World Wars, but also people who fought in the 1800s.

The remains of 54 soldiers who fought in pre-Confederation wars were transferred to the National Field of Honour from the foot of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.

They came “from the old Papineau Cemetery to here in 1944," said Crowe.

"Among that group, there are some who have fought the Napoleonic War in Europe and some who have fought the Canada-United States 1812 war.”

Perhaps one of the most accomplished veterans at the cemetery is Sergeant Leo Major, who fought in World War II and the Korean War. During World War II, he singlehandedly liberated an entire town in the Netherlands.

Remembrance Day is fast approaching. Crowe says that considering the sacrifices and bravery of the thousands of men and women who are buried at the cemetery, a day of recognition is warranted.

“It is indeed the minimum, I think, the minimum that the Canadian population can do for our servicemen,” Crowe said.

“For all those who have served their country with so much dedication, so much effort... so much sacrifice.”

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