Remembrance Day

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The Colour Party pose with Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Spott (larger format)

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IHMS conducts a special Remembrance Day prayer service every year to commemorate all the Canadian soldiers who fought and died in previous and current wars. This year, staff and students gathered for the service in the school gym at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, November 10th.

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Before the Remembrance Day ceremony began, the grade 5-8 students gathered in the gym at 9:30 to listen to a special guest speaker – Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Spott, a member of the Canadian Air Force who works out of 17 Wing Air Base here in Winnipeg. He gave a very inspiring presentation on the role of the Canadian military and why Remembrance Day is important to him. He discussed the many military operations he has been involved in during his long career, and spoke very poignantly about several of his friends who died in the service of their country.

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The Remembrance Day Service began at 10:00 a.m., just a few minutes after Lieutenant Colonel Aaron Spott’s presentation. After a brief welcome by Mr. Picklyk, the service began with an entrance procession of three grade 4 students – Amit G., Natalia Z., and Daniel T. who carried the Canadian flag, the Ukrainian flag, and an icon of Mry respectively.

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The entrance procession consisted of grade 4 students

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Everyone rose for “O Canada”, the national anthem, followed by a reading of the biblical passage Ephesians 4: 25-27, 29-32 by Sister Anne Pidskalny, SSMI.

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Sr. Anne reading a biblical passage for the Remembrance Day Service

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Next, a group of students from grade 7 (Victoria O., Adriana S., Jenna T., Armaan D., Eldric A., and James L,) read a short “Sentence of Remembrance”. This was a description of their thoughts and feelings about Remembrance Day from an assignment they did for Mrs. Naurocki in class. Edcel A. followed this by reading an article about “Animals in War”.

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 The grade 7’s reading their “Sentence of Remembrance” (top photo) and Edcel A. reading a passage about about “Animals in War” (bottom photo)

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Mrs. Stanowych then led the grade 5 class in a musical interpretation of the poem “In Flanders Fields”. This was followed by a story entitled “The Poppy Lady” which was read by Nicole M.

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Grade 5’s singing “In Flanders Fields” (top photo) and Nicole M. reading “The Poppy Lady” story (bottom photo)

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One of the highlights of the Remembrance Day service is the traditional laying of the wreath by the school’s “Colour Party”. The Colour Party is always composed of a group of grade 7 and 8 students who belong to a “uniform” wearing organization such as Sum, Plast, or the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. This year’s Colour Party was made up of Mylana S., Christian S., Gabriel M., Arianna B., Nina H., Mark D., Thomas S., Yaroslav P., Jordan S., Arsen Y., and Serhiy S.

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 The Colour Party preparing to march to the front of the gym

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The Colour Party marched loudly and in perfect formation from the gym entrance, along the back wall, and down the middle of the gym to the symbolic cenotaph at the front. Nina H. laid the wreath on the cenotaph and then stepped back and saluted while the rest of the marchers filed around on either side of the cross.

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The marchers assumed their positions and saluted during a recorded bugle call entitled “Last Post”. The Last Post is a bugle call that has been incorporated into military funerals where it is played as a final farewell, symbolising the fact that the duty of the dead soldier is over and that they can rest in peace. Everyone remained silent and solemn while the Colour Party held their salute during the moment of silence.

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The Colour Party during the moment of silence

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After the moment of silence, Josh T. read a “Peacemaker’s Prayer”, followed by the song “We Can Make a Difference” sung by the grade 3 class.

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Josh reading a “Peacemaker’s Prayer” (top photo) and the grade 3 class singing “We Can Make a Difference”

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The Remembrance Day service ended with the prayer “Our Father” recited in Ukrainian, and a song was played as students filed out of the gym and back to their classes.

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War is a terrible thing – it’s the deliberate killing of other human beings. Nobody wants war, but it still happens all the time. In fact, thousands of soldiers are involved in wars around the world at this very moment, including Canadians who have recently started conducting military strikes against the terrorist group ISIS in Iraq.

A few statistics about the Canadian Forces:

  • Canada’s first official dispatch of troops to an overseas war was the Boer War (1899-1902) where 7000 served and 300 were killed.
  • During World War I (1914 – 1918) 650,000 served and 68,000 were killed.
  • During World War II (1939 -1945) over 1,000,000 served and 47,000 were killed.
  • During the Korean War (1950 -1953)  26,791 served and 516 were killed.
  • During the War in Afganistan (2002-2011) over 40,000 served and 158 were killed.

The efforts of these brave soldiers give additional meaning to the importance of our annual Remembrance Day service.