OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 1, 2013) - Gordon Moore, Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion, announced Mrs. Niki Psiharis (pronounced psi-harris) as the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother for 2013-2014 earlier today here at Dominion Command.
Mrs. Psiharis lives in Laval, Québec. She is the 6th mother from Québec to be named as the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother since the Legion began this tradition more than sixty years ago.
Mrs. Psiharis lost her youngest son, Sergeant Chris Karigiannis, when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle approximately 40km west of Kandahar City, Afghanistan on 20 June 2007 - less than two months from his scheduled return home in August.
As the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother, Mrs. Psiharis will lay a wreath at the National War Memorial on 11 November 2013 on behalf of all Canadian mothers who have lost a son or a daughter in the military either in action or in the course of his/her normal duty.
Mrs. Psiharis' other sons Peter and Spiro will be at the ceremony. Her spouse, Mr. Anastasios Karigiannis, passed away from cancer in 1990.
A photo of the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother is available at: www.legion.ca/NikiPsiharis.jpg.
Mrs. Psiharis was born in a small village of less than 200 people outside of Kalamata, Greece. She married at the age of 18 to Mr. Anastasios Karigiannis and the two emigrated together to Montréal, Québec in 1968. Her husband passed away from cancer in 1990, leaving her to raise three teenage sons on her own. She worked in the textile and building maintenance industries until her retirement in 2001. Her youngest son, Sergeant Chris Karigiannis, was killed along with two fellow soldiers, when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device on June 20, 2007, in Afghanistan. Sergeant Karigiannis has two brothers, Peter and Spiro.
For the past four years, Mrs Psiharis has travelled with students from her son's former High School to the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa and has been a motivating factor to get these same students to complete more than 100,000 volunteer hours in the community during this same time period. Mrs. Psiharis is an exemplary citizen who has been able to maintain a positive outlook in spite of her terrible loss.
Sergeant Chris Karigiannis
Sergeant Chris Karigiannis was killed along with two fellow soldiers, when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device on June 20, 2007, outside Kandahar in Afghanistan.
He was a member of the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based out of Edmonton, Alberta. Born in 1975, he graduated Chomedey Polyvalent High School (now known as Laval Liberty High School) and earned a degree in Aircraft Maintenance from John Abbot College in Montréal. He was an enthusiastic member of the Air Cadets since the age of thirteen, and achieved the three highest awards that can be held by any Air Cadet: The top rank of WO-1 (CWO), the Lord Strathcona Medal, and having been selected for the Air Cadet Flying Scholarship.
He joined the army in 2003, immediately after completing his college degree. He was also an avid recreational pilot, world traveller, and skydiver, and had the distinction of being selected as a member of Canada's elite Skyhawks team while he was still only a Private in the army. His mother and brothers are very proud that his alma mater, Laval Liberty High School, has rallied around the memory of Chris and 3PPCLI to effect much positive social change in their community.
About the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother
The Memorial (Silver) Cross was instituted on December 1, 1919 and was issued as a memento of personal loss and sacrifices on behalf of all widows and mothers who lost a child while on active duty in the service of their nation or whose death was consequently attributed to such duty.
Every year, Legion provincial commands and individuals forward nominations for the selection of a National Memorial (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 the following year.
As the Legion's National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother, she will lay a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial and fulfill other official functions during her term as the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother.
About the Legion
Established in 1926, the Legion is the largest Veterans service organization in Canada with more than 320,000 members. Its mission is to serve all Veterans including serving Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members and their families, to promote Remembrance and to serve our communities and our country.
The Legion's Service Bureau Officers can assist and represent CAF members Veterans, RCMP members and their families regarding disability claims or related issues with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB). In communities across Canada, it is the Legion that perpetuates Remembrance through the Poppy campaign and Remembrance Day ceremonies, With more than 1,450 branches, The Legion supports programs for seniors, Veterans housing, Long Term Care, youth leadership, education, sports, Cadets, Guides and Scouts. We will Remember Them.