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Moving ceremony focused on ‘Sacrifices across the Land’

By Marni Walsh

Centre Dufferin District High School students Meaghan Weirmier and Hunter Milsap were the Masters of Ceremony at two assemblies held Monday morning to mark Remembrance Day. The poignant ceremonies, themed around “Sacrifice across the Land,” had to be moved from the original time November 10th when a water main break in Shelburne closed the school for the day.

Principal Wendy McIntosh, who was born in a third world country and lived in several different developing nations growing up, told the students that she was grateful everyday to live in Canada - a country of freedom with liberties that many people across the world do not have. She said it was her hope that the students “never take their freedom for granted.”

Coordinator of the Remembrance Day assemblies, Social Science teacher Shannon Rankin said the theme “Sacrifice across the Land” centred on Canada as a whole, with less of a Dufferin focus, in recognition of Canada 150. “Men and women come from all across Canada to protect this entire land coast to coast and the values we hold dear as a collective nation,” she said.

There was also a focus on diversity, including the first black battalion in Nova Scotia where black soldiers from all over North America enlisted in WWI, as well as the military service of 12,000 First Nations, highly skilled marksmen, scouts and fearless soldiers. Peacekeepers and contemporary conflicts were also included, in addition to the traditional focus on WWI and WWII.

Music teacher Andrea Parsons conducted the school band and vocal students with a variety of beautiful music to support the theme. The young instrumentalists were at their best, and the compositions from “Sketches from Canada” were filled with sweeping emotion befitting the accompanying montage of Veteran Affairs videos.

The vocal students performed Newfoundland's “Great Big Sea,” and later the beautiful ballad “Last Rose of Summer” while heart rendering images of soldiers, the unfathomable hardship and sacrifice, their persistence and courage, were projected behind them. Hunter Milsap asked students to “consider the cost to remain free in this great place we call home.”

Student Wiley McGowan read “In Flanders' Fields” and the Roll Call of 11 CDDHS students who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in times of war. Teacher Mr. Scott played the “The Last Post” followed by a minute of silence. As the ceremony came to a close, Meaghan Weirmier invited her fellow students to “keep the spirit of remembrance” with them throughout the year.



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