2019 Silver Cross Mother continues son's mission through volunteer work
For Reine Samson Dawe, promoting education for women and girls in Afghanistan is an important part of her healing process, but also her way of continuing the mission started by Canadian soldiers, including her son Matthew Dawe.
Samson Dawe is this year’s National Silver Cross Mother, an honour conferred by the Royal Canadian Legion each year, to represent all mothers who lost children serving in the military. She will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Ottawa during Monday’s Remembrance Day ceremony on their behalf.
“We can’t all be soldiers, but we can all help to carry on what has been started,” she told CTV’s Your Morning. She volunteers for Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, a non-profit organization that works to advance access to education for Afghan women and their families.
“We know very well the education of women is at the basis of improvement in the society. If the mothers are involved and educated, they will pass it on to their children. And it changes the whole aspect of the life in Afghanistan.”
Samson Dawe said continuing the work is not just for those who paid with their lives, but also for those who returned with physical and psychological trauma.
“Our country paid dearly for that mission, so we can’t just walk away. And the reason why we should do it more for Afghanistan is because we were involved there directly.”
Her son Matthew, commander of 8 Platoon, C Company, 3 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Battalion, was the youngest of four boys. He was just 27 years old when he was killed instantly, along with five other Canadian soldiers and an Afghan interpreter, after his armoured vehicle was hit by a 500-pound bomb buried in a road in Afghanistan on July 4, 2007.
His son Lucas, turned two that same day.
“Lucas knows who his dad is. He won’t remember him physically. But he’s heard so many stories and seen so many pictures, his dad is not a stranger to him,” said Samson Dawe, whose husband and three surviving sons also served in the military.
“We talk about him all the time. Matthew is forever present in all the family reunions, whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any chance we have, there’s always a toast to Matthew.”