Thank you to our staff and students for organizing and presenting at school assemblies across our school district in recognition of Remembrance Day. As a school community, these assemblies demonstrate the care, compassion and thoughtfulness of our students and staff in addressing critically important global issues at a local level.
I was pleased to attend Sutherland’s Peace Ceremony, which addressed our “place of privilege”, with reflections by students and special guests.
Adina Williams spoke of the contributions of First Nations soldiers who were conscripted into service to fight for Canada, only to have their status as ‘Indians’ stripped from them. Having fought for their country, the returning First Nations soldiers were prevented from returning to their traditional territories and denied entry to the reservations to live with their families. The approach taken by the Government was a continued effort to assimilate the First Nations people, preventing them from engaging in their cultural traditions, or use their language.
Bronwyn Curry shared her family story, reflecting on her grandfather’s experience with the Canadian navy during the Second World War, and later as veteran. As a young girl, she learned of the profound impact of her grandfather’s experiences in serving our country, and the atrocity of war and the loss of personal friends and comrades.
Dr. Roland Shulz, Sutherland teacher, shared a very personal story, retelling his mother’s experience as a child refugee, having to escape the Ukraine as the conflict between the fascist and communist regimes erupted in proximity to their homes and villages. Families were broken apart and forced to flee on foot and later by train, only to be placed in conditions of increasing danger. Dr. Shulz closed his comments acknowledging the immense challenges faced today by more than 60 million refugees.
In addition to these reflections, the Sutherland Ceremony featured a Welcome Prayer, song, music, and oral presentations by students and guest alumni. The audience of students, staff, parents and community members were respectful throughout the assembly. While I was able to experience Sutherland’s Remembrance Ceremony firsthand today, I am certain that the dignified and respectful approach taken was repeated in all schools across our School District.
North Vancouver Remembrance Day Services will be held tomorrow in our community as follows:
Victoria Park Cenotaph, hosted by Royal Canadian Legion 118, North Shore Veterans’ Council, and the City of North Vancouver, with music performed by the Laudate Singers – 10:30 a.m.
Lynn Valley Village, hosted by the Royal Canadian Legion 114 – 10:30 a.m.
Cates Park – 11:00 a.m.