'He was so proud of his brothers and I'm so proud of him' widow says of veteran
Published Thursday, November 7, 2019 3:46PM AST
PORT CALEDONIA, N.S. -- It was a unique act of remembrance by a veteran in honour of an entire family that served more than 95 years combined in the Canadian Armed Forces.
"I thought it was time for Arbuckle Lane to have a little recognition," said veteran Fred Arbuckle.
He put up seven banners for seven brothers, who all grew up on this tiny road.
Four Arbuckle boys served in -- and survived -- the Second World War.
The other three, Fred included, served after the conflict was over.
Last year, 94-year-old Fred Arbuckle was the last of the brothers still living.
"It meant everything to him," said Frances Arbuckle, Fred's wife. "He was so proud of his brothers and I'm so proud of him that he was able to do that."
Fred figured he would be around to see the banners go up again this November, but in July, he passed away suddenly.
After spending a nice summer weekend with his son, who was visiting from away, his wife came downstairs and found him unresponsive.
"I couldn't wake him, and he didn't wake up again," said Frances. "But it was a blessing; he didn't suffer."
Fred Arbuckle may be gone, but his tradition continues on Arbuckle Lane and, as the seven banners flap in the breeze, his family says he is symbolically reunited with his six brothers.
The thought of his brothers looking down on the banners nearly brought Fred Arbuckle to tears last year.
"I think they'd be as proud as I am," he said one year ago.
Now, his family has made sure they're flying high again.
"Oh, it meant everything," Frances said. "That's what Freddy would have wanted. That was his whole idea."
The plan is for the banners to return every year before Remembrance Day.
"And like I said to one of the girls, 'at least he saw them, flowing in the breeze a bit, before he passed away,'" Frances Arbuckle said.