St. Andrew's students and staff paused this morning during our annual Remembrance Day services to reflect upon those who sacrificed themselves upon the altar of freedom.
Rev. Bruce Roffey reminded the boys of the history of the Chapel, which was built as a war memorial to the 107 Andreans who died in the First World War. Another 45 Andreans gave their lives in the Second World War.
The Middle School and grade 9 boys gathered in the Memorial Chapel where they heard stories of 10 Fallen Andreans, a poignant reminder of the connection between Andrean Brothers.
Photos of these fallen men were placed at the front of the Chapel and the boys filed up to pay their respects, placing poppies in front of the images of their brothers.
“Our purpose today is to remember as best we can. To remember what we never experienced ourselves. To remember those we never knew. But tomorrow, our purpose is to work for peace in whatever way we can,” Rev. Roffey said.
The Upper School service followed with a guest speaker, Lt. Col.(ret’d) Susan Beharriell, who served as an intelligence analyst during the Cold War and was on duty during the Iranian hostage crisis, the shooting down of Korean Airlines jet in 1983, the first Gulf War, and the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Her grandfather was involved in the First World War; the Second World War was her father’s war. Her mother lost her high school sweetheart to war.
“These are the memories of my family, but they are not my memories,” Lt. Col. Beharriell said. “And so it is, at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, when I stand in silence, and the bugle plays, and the soldiers march, and the flags whip in the cold wind…the memories of which you speak are not my memories. I have not experienced the mud of the trenches, the mustard gas, carpet bombings, suicide bombings, IEDs, or the stench of war.”
So why does she remember?
“I do not need to have been there myself to remember what was done on my behalf. I think of Remembrance Day as an opportunity to say thank you. Perhaps you will, too,” she said.
“Thank you to the thousands Canadian men and women who put their own lives on hold to defect our way of life. Thank you to the hundreds and thousands who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live in a peaceful and prosperous Canada.”
Story by Julie Caspersen