Attendance reaches 1,500 to honor veterans
By Jim Morrison
The John Abbott College memorial athletic field provided the backdrop on Thursday morning, Nov. 6, to honor and remember all those who served Canada in times of war, military conflict, and peace.
Over 1,500 in attendance paid tribute to the 60 veterans from Ste. Anne’s hospital during a bilingual ceremony which commenced at 10:15 a.m.
Processions lead by three different pipers, from MacDonald High School (MAC), John Abbott College (JAC), and McGill University gathered at the east end of the athletic field, which including students from the above mentioned.
The ceremonies were emceed by Stefanie Thibert, McGill Student Union president and Nikolas Dolmat, JAC Student Union president.
The opening lines recalled the recent tragedies in Quebec and Ottawa where two Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the line of duty.
The event also produced speeches from Chandra Madramootoo, dean of McGill’s MacDonald Campus; John Halpin director general of JAC; and Jad Deegan principal of MAC, who all thanked the men and women who served their country.
The poem, In Flanders Fields was rendered in English by Ms.Jean McEwen, a 94-year-old, World War II veteran, while Francois Dupere, a 34-year-old veteran of Bosnia, and Afghanistan, who offered up the sonnet in French.
A gesture of significance was when the students lined up in a single line, each planting a small Canadian flag in the soil beneath the monument.
“It was really interesting, and cool how the veterans were there. It was a nice experience to place the Canadian flag in the soil where the memorial monument was,” said 11-year-old Edgewater student, Kitiara Arsenault.
“The observance takes up to seven weeks to prepare, with committees from the three schools. The kids showed much respect through their conduct towards the veterans. The 40 minute presentation brought smiles to the men and women and all are looking forward in being present next year,” Bob McEwen, organizer, told The Suburban.
The observance has existed since 2006, and the plan is to continue to honor and remember all veterans young and old at the Memorial monument.
More information on Ste. Anne’s Veteran’s Hospital is available at: www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/steannes-hospital
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