GORE BAY—Students and staff of Charles C. McLean Public School have a very strong understanding of the importance of Remembrance Day as evidenced by the ceremony the school held November 10, and the posters, poems and other students works that adorned the schools walls and gym.
“Welcome students, staff, parents and community members. Welcome to our special guest Chief Petty Officer Second Class Harper, who has come to take part in our wreath laying ceremony,” said Tracey Chapman, principal of C.C. McLean Public School at their Remembrance Day ceremonies. “Our school is having a Remembrance Day ceremony today to recognize our Canadian heroes, both past and present. We continue this tradition in order for students to build an understanding of the sacrifices that have been made, in the past and present, in order for us to live in the democratic society that we live in today.”
“Honouring our veterans is shown in various ways by our student-singing songs, listening to and reflecting on music, stories, poetry and art. It’s evident that our students have a deep appreciation for this symbolic day of Remembrance. Thank you to the staff, students and families for working together to bring meaning to this day,” said Ms. Chapman. “Our character trait for November is courage. As students, you show courage every day-in your own way-when faced with challenges and things that are hard to work through. Persevering during these moments, standing up for what is right and being resilient on a daily basis are a few ways that you can continue to honour those who fought for our country.”
Ms. Chapman introduced the masters of ceremony for the day, Grade 8 students Rachael Orford and Patricia Patterson. They introduced Patrick McCann and Jenna Shank who explained the significance of Remembrance Day and why it is so important.
“Across Canada and in many other countries, people gather on November 11 to honour the courage and devotion of brave men and women who made the supreme sacrifice of dying for their country,” said Patrick.
“The hostilities of the First World War ceased on November 11, 1918, at 11 am at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,” said Jenna.
Patrick explained, “the following year marked the first observance of a day to remember and honour those who died, as well as to give thanks for the sacrifices of those who came back from serving their country.”
And, “since then, Canadians have fought in other conflicts and many have given their lives so that we might enjoy freedom today. They too should be remembered,” said Jenna.
The Grades 4/5/6 classes then presented Bob Dylan’s ‘The Answer is Blowing In the Wind,’ directed by teacher Ray Scott on guitar.
M.C.’s Rachael and Patricia Patterson then told the story of Dr. McRae. “In May 1915, one of Dr. John McCrae’s closest friends and comrades, was killed in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium. He was buried in a humble grave with a simple wooden cross. Wild poppies bloomed between the crosses marking the many graves. The next day, unable to help his friend or any of the others who had died, Dr. McCrae gave them a voice through this poem.”
“On January 28, 1918, John McCrae succumbed to pneumonia and meningitis. He died not knowing the outcome of the war, but with a full understanding of the cost of it. Before he died, Dr. McCrae had the satisfaction of knowing this poem had been a success. Soon after its publication, it became the most popular poem of the First World War. It was translated into many languages and used on billboards advertising the sale of first Victory Loan Bonds in Canada in 1917.”
“In part because of the poem’s popularity, the poppy was adopted as the Flower of Remembrance. The symbolic poppy and John McCrae’s poems are still linked, and the voices of those who have died in war continue to be heard each Remembrance Day.”
Dr. McCrae’s poem, ‘In Flander’s Fields,’ was presented by Colton Chevrette and Jaydan Hayden.
The Act of Remembrance was read by Tristin Tolsma and Sophie Hietkamp; followed by a moment of silence, the Rouse, and a Commitment to Remember was read by Xander Bentley and Blaec Quinlan.
The Grade 2/3 class then presented ‘Make a Difference,’ directed by Enid Runnalls.
As everyone stood, the observance of the laying of the wreaths, in an act of Remembrance, was performed by Officer Harper and members of the local Brownies, Amara Wilson-Zegil and Sydney Pfeiffer and guides Alexandra Wilson-Zegil and flag bearer Willow Fogal, on behalf of the staff and students at C.C. McLean.
Everyone was then joined by the Grade 4 students in the singing of O’Canada.