National Silver Cross Mother

The Memorial Cross (more often referred to as the Silver Cross) was first authorized on December 1, 1919 as a memento of personal loss and sacrifice on the part of widows and mothers of Canadian sailors, aviators and soldiers who died for their country during the war.

Today, the National Silver Cross Mother is chosen by the Legion among nominations made by Legion Provincial Commands and individuals to represent the mothers of Canada at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa. At the Ceremony, the National Silver Cross Mother places a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all those mothers who have lost children in the military service of Canada. During her tenure, which starts on November 1, the National Silver Cross Mother fulfills other official functions.

2017 National Silver Cross Mother – Mrs. Diana Abel

Mrs. Abel’s only son, Corporal Michael David Abel, died on May 3, 1993 while serving in Belet Huen, Somalia, as part of Operation Deliverance. This operation was part of a United Nations peacekeeping effort during the early part of the Somali Civil War.

As the National Silver Cross Mother, Mrs. Abel will place a wreath at the National War Memorial on 11 November 2017 on behalf of all Canadian mothers who have lost a son or a daughter in the military service of Canada. Throughout the year, she will also be called upon to perform other duties honouring the Fallen from all conflicts.

Biography

    Mrs. Diana Abel

Diana Abel was born in Ottawa and later became an avid volunteer and entrepreneur in Western Canada. Having lived in several British Columbia towns and cities, she now resides in Brampton, ON. She is a current volunteer and board member of a local non-profit organization called the Perpetual Bazaar, a consignment store selling items made by area seniors.

In previous years, Diana worked with the local Catholic Church in Comox, B.C. and served on the Catholic Women’s League. She also ran dressmaking and craft businesses and oversaw large craft shows in Sidney, B.C.

Diana moved to Brampton to be closer to her daughter Laura and three grandchildren with whom she spends a lot of time visiting and traveling. Her husband David C. Abel passed away in 2005 after they had raised their two children together. David spent 12 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force before becoming a teacher and then working for the Ministry of Education in B.C.

With her father, husband and son all having spent time in the Armed Forces, and her two grandsons who are current and past members of cadet squadrons, Mrs. Abel’s family has a significant history of military service.

In the wake of her son Michael’s passing, Diana has taken part in wreath-laying ceremonies in both Sidney and Brampton and is a member of the Bramalea Legion, Branch 609.

Biography

Corporal Michael David Abel

Corporal Abel was an infantryman and member of the Canadian Airborne Regiment based in Petawawa, ON.

Born on December 10, 1965 in Comox, British Columbia, Michael joined the Canadian Armed Forces in Vancouver in 1985. He began his service as an Air Cadet, and then was part of the Army Reserves. He graduated top candidate during Basic Training in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Corporal Abel died on May 3, 1993 during Operation Deliverance in Belet Huen, Somalia. Well-respected by his fellow comrades, they chose to honour him by naming a “Jump Zone Abel” at the Gjoa Haven airfield, on King William Island, Nunavut. In 1993 they also named their base in Bosnia, “Base Abel.”

In life, Michael had a passion for car repair, motorcycles, travel and family.

Michael took his last jump when his ashes were dropped from a plane over Forbidden Plateau in Comox, British Columbia. The significant and symbolic gesture was made by 407 Squadron, Comox, his father’s old squadron.

A living tree and plaque in Michael’s name are found in the National Military Cemetery, at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa.

 

Past recipients

Every year, Legion Provincial Commands and individuals forward nominations for the selection of a National Silver Cross Mother. These nominations are reviewed by a selection committee at Dominion Command and one mother is chosen for the year which begins on 01 November until 31 October of the following year.

Past recipients