On Thursday, Nov 7. TRU hosted a Remembrance Day Ceremony to honour those presently serving in the Canadian Military and commemorate the soldiers who would have served during wartime.
Students, staff and faculty congregated on Student Street in the Old Main Building for the brief ceremony which featured the singing of the Canadian National Anthem and a recital of the war poem “In Flanders Fields.”
Giving brief remarks, TRU President Dr. Brett Fairbairn said the event was held to pay respect to the “service and sacrifice” of Canadian soldiers.
“101 years ago this month on the eleventh day of the eleventh hour, the guns fell silent across Europe,” he said.
“That peace marked the end of a particularly horrible war and one that drew people’s attention to the service and the sacrifice of soldiers and the veterans.”
Noting that Canadians served in a number of wars that took place all over the world, he added that his own parents were veterans who served during the Second World War.
“My mother told me stories about enlisting, about the people she knew and of course, she and my father met on a military base in Regina, Saskatchewan,” he explained.
“But she talked also about people she knew who went away and didn’t come back. So there are many connections that many of us have with our families, through people we know and through our community and the people who served here.”
On behalf of the institution, Dr. Fairbairn thanked everyone who served in the Canadian Military.
He also made special mention of the Secwépemc Nation and noted that many of its members would have offered their time and service to the country before they were even recognized as citizens.
Craig Thomson, President of Kamloops Royal Canadian Legion Branch, also spoke on the significance of the blue beret and red poppy pin.
“The majority of Canadians and others around the world are familiar with soldiers that have worn the blue beret since the late 1940s,” he said.
“The blue beret is a symbol of peacekeeping issued by the United Nations when they send troops into crisis areas around the world.”
Thomson explained that Canada “sent its first peacekeepers” to missions in regions of Africa in the early 1950s.
He also said that he received his blue beret as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
“40 years after Canada started sending troops to the United Nations, Canada sent policemen for the first time in 1989 as peacekeepers to Namibia to oversee and monitor the elections in that country.”
“That was Canada’s first policemen in the international field (but) it wasn’t long until the United Nations asked Canada to send more policemen.”
Also elaborating on the importance of the poppy, Thomson explained that the symbol has been around “since the turn of the nineteenth century.”
“It came to Canada as the result of a Canadian officer who was serving in France at the time and was standing in a cemetery where Canadian and allied troops had been buried,” he said.
“When that officer came back to Canada, he brought a poppy symbol back with him and ever since, the poppy has been a symbol of remembrance in Canada.”
Overall, TRU’s Remembrance Day Ceremony was a huge success and those in attendance got to hear a war veteran offer a first-hand account of some of the experiences many officers face abroad.
The event did a great job at honouring fallen, retired and current Canadian soldiers and reminded everyone why they should be grateful to these individuals.