The National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother is chosen annually by the Royal Canadian Legion. This has been happening since 1936.
According to Veterans Affairs Canada, “The Memorial Cross (more often referred to as the Silver Cross) is awarded to mothers and widows (next of kin) of Canadian soldiers who died on active duty or whose death was consequently attributed to such duty.”
“The National Silver Cross Mother represents the mothers of Canada at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa on November 11. She will lay a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all mothers who lost children in the military service to their nation. During her year-long tenure, which begins on November 1st, she performs other official duties, as required.”
According to a brief bio on the Veterans Affairs Canada website, “Candy Greff calls Lacombe, Alberta home, and has for many years. She was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and was raised mainly in the town of Radville where she later met her husband, Greg. As a Licensed Practical Nurse over 33 years, she received her certification in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and was immersed in a profession in which selflessness and a gregarious nature are virtues. Candy and her husband Greg had three children including Byron, Chelsey and Dustin – and are happy grandparents of eight.
As the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother, Mrs. Greff will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial on 11 November 2022 on behalf of all Canadian mothers who have lost a son or a daughter in the military either in action or in the course of his/her normal duty. Throughout the year she will also be called upon to perform other duties honouring the Fallen from all conflicts.
She lost her son Master Corporal Byron Greff, on 29 October 2011, riding inside an armoured NATO bus when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-filled car which impacted the bus. He was the first Canadian soldier to die during that particular training mission, and the last Canadian soldier to lose his life in Afghanistan.”
The very first National Silver Cross Mother was Charlotte Susan Wood in 1936.
“In 1936, Mrs. Charlotte Susan Wood from Winnipeg, Manitoba, became known as the first National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother when she placed a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey in London, England, on behalf of all Canadian mothers who have lost a child in military service to their country.”
Wood lost two sons in World War I. On Aug. 24, 1914 Pte. Frederick Wood was killed at Mons in Belgium. And on May 5, 1917 Pte. Peter Percy Wood was killed at Vimy Ridge.
When you gather around your local cenotaphs and war memorials, take a moment to remember the widows, and mothers left behind by those who paid the ultimate price.