Five years ago Master Cpl. Byron Greff of Lacombe had a newborn daughter and was training Afghan soldiers when he was killed.
On Friday, Candy Greff, the Silver Cross Mother, laid a wreath at the cenotaph at Red Deer Legion’s Remembrance Day Service before hundreds who came out to CrossRoads Church.
“I am honoured to be a Silver Cross Mother; however, it’s a tragedy that I have to be a Silver Cross Mother,” said Greff who just commemorated the anniversary of her son’s Oct. 29, 2011 death.
Byron, a member of Third Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, was killed on a routine trip between training and headquarter bases when a car packed with explosives rammed into the heavily armoured NATO bus being escorted by two heavily-armed patrol vehicles.
Five NATO soldiers, eight civilian contractors and four Afghans were killed in the blast, and many others wounded.
Greff said her 28-year-old son was the 158th soldier killed in Afghanistan. He was on his second tour.
She said along with her sadness, she will remember how good he was at his job and his determination to help others.
“We are so proud of the military and all that they do. I will never forget Byron saying, ‘The kites are flying in Afghanistan. That means the children are feeling safe enough to go and fly kites,’” Greff said.
She was thankful to all legions for hosting services on Nov. 11.
Bev Hanes, Red Deer Legion president, said services across the country recognized the ultimate sacrifice of more than 116,000 Canadians, as well as those who returned home with physical and psychological wounds.
“The ceremony of remembrance began as a small spontaneous gathering at local cenotaphs as veterans paid homage to their fallen comrades. The ceremony has evolved into an international day of observance and honour,” Hanes told the crowd.
She said it’s easy to think of the casualties of war as the seniors attending the services. But most who lost their lives in war were teenagers.
Rev. Gary Sinclair urged people and countries to work towards peace.
“Whether you believe in the God I believe in, or another God, or even if you have no God, I would challenge you always to do what is right in the name of whatever it is you believe in. To treat each other with respect. To look at others not with hatred or distrust, but with open hearts and open minds with open eyes,” said Sinclair who is also a veteran.
The Korean Veterans Association also held a ceremony at the Red Deer Cenotaph on Ross Street.