Members of the United States navy were in Halifax yesterday to honour the buried soldiers at Deadman’s Island for Memorial Day.
The park located in the Northwest Arm is the site of 188 unmarked graves of American prisoners of war who were captured during the war of 1812.
The soldiers were prisoners on Melville Island before having their bodies moved to the site on Deadman’s Island.
The park, which is actually a small peninsula by the Northwest Arm, was covered with small American flags and PoW flags yesterday which read, “you are not forgotten.”
Lt.-Cmdr. Brad McGuire of the U.S. navy talked about the American PoWs buried under the trees just 20 feet away from him.
“They not only lost their lives defending their nation, but they also never made it home again,” he said.
McGuire, who is on exchange with the Canadian navy, noted the importance of Memorial Day for America and its allies.
“When you lose a nation’s son or daughter in defence of freedom, we know your loss,” he said. “We understand your loss, and for those of us who serve with you – we feel your loss.”
McGuire noted the thousands of lives lost by Canadian and American soldiers in recent conflicts such as the mission in Afghanistan.
A prayer was given by Chaplain Andrew Cooke to honour all fallen soldiers, sailors, and airmen from all countries. Bagpipes and a trumpet also played during the ceremony.
Consulate General of the United States for Halifax Harold Foster spoke at the ceremony and read President Barack Obama’s prayer for peace, which is done every year by the president on Memorial Day.
Foster was emotional Monday because it was the first Memorial Day without his father, who was part of the U.S. army. Foster is looking forward to going home to see his father’s grave in July.