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In her words: 2022 Silver Cross Mother Candy Greff on carrying her son's legacy


Master Corporal Byron Greff was killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan, on October 29, 2011.

The 28-year-old was the last of 158 Canadian soldiers killed in the Afghanistan war. Canada ceased its combat operation in 2011 and was transitioning to a training mission when Byron died. He was a part of 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and left behind his parents and siblings, a wife and two young children.

More than a decade later, Byron is fiercely remembered by those who loved him including his mother Candy Greff, who was named this year's Silver Cross Mother. Greff was chosen by the Royal Canadian Legion and will lay a wreath during the Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

In an emotional interview on CTV's Your Morning, Greff explained how proud she was of her son's career in the military.

"I want to remind people of the dedication and the sacrifice," the Lacombe, Alta. native said Wednesday. "When someone joins the military, they're signing on the dotted line, what they're doing is giving to their country."

Greff will be called throughout the year, until October 2023, to perform other duties honouring those killed in all conflicts. She represents all mothers who have lost a child in the military service of Canada.

"It's so important to remember Byron and all the others who lost their lives in all of the wars, and all of the conflicts that have happened across the world," Greff said. "It's important for us to connect with others and be supported."

One of her fondest memories of Byron is his "contagious" and "loud" laugh, that went on "forever." Greff remembers a heartwarming story of her late son and how he and his siblings conspired against her one April Fool's Day.

"I walked down into the kitchen and I was by the sink, and Byron said 'Mum, could you just grab me a glass of water there quick?' So I turned the cold water tap on full blast," Greff recalled. Byron and his siblings had tied an eclectic over the faucet. "Did I (ever) get blasted… They howled. They just thought that was the funniest thing ever. And we know who instigated that."

Greff said she was extremely moved by the generosity of the community when her son's body came home. When the family returned through the Edmonton airport, yellow ribbons were tied everywhere, a trademark statement in supporting Canadian soldiers.

"There is a bench at his high school at an outdoor classroom…with a beautiful plaque on it," Greff said. "All of it is overwhelming and (I'm) so thankful to everyone who has put endless effort and endless hours into all of these things…They're remembering him with us and we are so appreciative of all of that."

The Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa will start at 10:30 a.m. EST.  


With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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