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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 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 10th. poppyremem


Students and staff gathered in the gym for the Remembrance Day Service


After a brief welcome by Mr. Picklyk, the service began with an entrance procession of three grade 4 students – Aleena A., Nicolas M., and Lukas Z., who carried the Canadian flag, the Ukrainian flag, and an icon of Mary respectively.


The grade 3 flag bearers


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.


Sister Anne reading the biblical passage Ephesians 4: 25-27, 29-32


Next a grade 5 student, Hanna B. read an informative article entitled “All About the Poppy”. The article described the significance of poppies in World War i, and how wearing poppies during Remembrance Day services has become a yearly tradition.


Grade 5 student Hanna B. reading an article entitled “All About the Poppy”


The poppy has come to symbolize Remembrance Day as a result of a poem written during World War I by a Canadian military physician called John McCrae. The poem, called “In Flanders Fields”, referred to the poppy because it bloomed in some of the worst battlefields of Flanders, and its red colour was an appropriate symbol for the horrendous bloodshed of the region. According to the Vetern Affairs Canada website, the Royal Canadian Legion suggests that the Poppy be worn on the left lapel of a garment or as close to the heart as possible.

A real poppy flower

A symbolic poppy worn on Remembrance Day


A grade 8 student selling poppies at the entrance to the gym


Next, Mrs. Stanowych led the grade 4 class in a choral song entitled “Poppies Red”.


The grade 4 class singing “Poppies Red”


This was followed by what was probably the highlight of the Remembrance Day service – greetings from several members of the Canadian military from Legion #246 on Main Street, including Ruth Estelle and her husband and Sargent of Arms, Mike. Veteran soldier Thomas Kuzynski (accompnied by his service dog) spoke briefly about PTSD, and gave a very interesting account of the World War 1 battle at Vimy Ridge and its lasting significance to Canadians.


Top photo: Ruth Estelle, a representative from Canadian Legion #246 spoke briefly to the students. She was accompanied by her husband, Sargent of Arms, Mike Estelle (not pictured). Bottom photo: Veteran soldier Thomas Kuzynski (with his service dog) speaking about Vimy Ridge.


A short video was then projected onto the gym wall describing the different types of equipment and supplies carried in the backpacks of soldiers during wartime. This was followed by a group of grade 7 students reading their versions of “What is Peace…” and a group of grade 4 students giving their “Recipes for Peace”. Mrs. Stanowych then led the grade 3 class in a choral song entitled “Sing of Peace”.


Photos from top to bottom: Grade 7 students reading their copies of “What is Peace…”; grade 4 students reading their “Recipes for Peace”; and the grade 3 class singing “Sing of Peace”.


Another highlight 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 6-8 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 Serhiy S., Arsen Y., Alyssa D., Jessica K., Alexander P., Ihor S., Adrian Z., Stefan D., and Nicholas W.


The Colour Party as they began entering the gym


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. Arsen Y. 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.


The Colour Party marching in the gym toward the cenotaph


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.


The Colour Party held their salute during the moment of silence


After the moment of silence, Student Council President Myles C. read a “Peacemaker’s Prayer”, followed by the prayer “Our Father” recited in Ukrainian. At this point, the Remembrance Day Service was over and students filed out of the gym and back to their classrooms.


Student Council President Myles C. reading the “Peacemaker’s Prayer”


War is a terrible thing because it’s the deliberate killing of other human beings. Nobody wants war, but it still happens all the time. Human nature suggests it’s probably impossible to completely eliminated all wars on Earth, but at least we can hope for it to occur less often.


In recent years, the world has become a more dangerous place to live. Not only is terrorism a serious threat, but thousands of nuclear weapons still exist in numerous countries around the world. Even though the Cold War has been over for decades, enough nuclear weapons already exist to destroy the Earth many times over. If you’re a baby boomer, the above photo was a fear that you grew up with – the possibility of a nuclear attack, the worst possible outcome of war.


A group shot of the Colour Party and the special guests from the Canadian military. Click here to enlarge



800128 The 19th century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck famously said one of the most poignant quotes ever on the horrors of war:

“Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war”





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