A Canadian Red Cross nurse who dedicated 11 years of her life to rescue and care for thousands of Greek and Armenian orphans during Ottoman Turkey’s genocides has received a permanent memorial statue in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Sara Corning joined the Red Cross during World War I and signed on with the Near East Relief. From 1919-1930, she worked in various orphanages in Turkey, including in Constantinople and Smyrna — the cosmopolitan port city ravaged by national Turkish forces in September of 1922.
In Smyrna, Corning gathered orphaned children and led them through the city to safety aboard an American ship, where they were transported to Constantinople. She later established an orphanage for the children on the Greek island of Syros.
In June 1923, King George II of Greece presented her with the Order of the Knights of St. Xavier for her courage and bravery.
On September 14, a commemorative gathering and statue unveiling for Corning took place in the Canadian town of Yarmouth. The event drew hundreds, including Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor Arthur J. LeBlanc.
The program included remarks from other prominent figures such as Anahit Harutyunyan, Armenian Ambassador to Canada, as well as dramatic and musical performances.
In an interview with local newspaper The Vanguard, Sara Corning Society Co-chairs David Chown and Jennifer Rodney-Chown said it’s “very rewarding” to see the results of the society’s “hard work” to honor a “great woman.”
Corning, herself a Yarmouth County native, dedicated 11 years of her life to saving and caring for thousands of orphans and adult refugees in the aftermath of WWI — and during later stages of Ottoman Turkey’s genocides perpetrated against Armenians and Greeks.
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