This year marks 100 years in the history of the poppy – one of the main symbols of Remembrance Day.
While this year’s Remembrance Day might look different due to Covid, the TRU Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, along with the Faculty of Student Development, welcomes students, staff, faculty and community to the 2021 virtual ceremony.
Every year on Nov. 11, Canadians and other countries take two minutes of silence for the men and women who served and continue to serve Canada in times of peace, war or conflict.
Remembrance Day began as a celebration of the anniversary of the Armistice agreement of 1918 that ended the First World War. The poppy campaign was inspired by John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” which was read by Alicia Ashcroft during the ceremony.
Reverend Jane Gingrich sang the national anthem after a short welcome speech by Jeff Torrans, the chair of the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, who gave acknowledgment to the land of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc where TRU resides.
Inuit elder, Bella Morris shared a touching story about her grandfather fighting during World War I. For her, Remembrance Day resembles a time to remember those young men who fought for Canadian values and who made the ultimate sacrifice. She also believes this day is to honour the families of those who never came back home. Morris ended her story with a prayer for the men and women in the forces.
TRU’s President Brett Fairbairn made an appearance in the ceremony to resonate with the importance of the day. While he understands that most people have never felt the fear or sacrifice these soldiers go through, he urged us to keep the 100,000 soldiers who died alive in our memories.
Mike Young, a retired lieutenant and 28-year veteran of the Canadian Forces was featured in the ceremony. He gave personal insight into the reality of some soldiers’ lives. He spoke of one of his partners never returning home, and the importance of respecting the life he gave up by keeping him in our memory.
Other guests of the ceremony were Fr. Chad Pawlyshyn Venerable Gawa Khandro and Chaplain Narayan Mitra who shared a lovely prayer for the day.
Reverend Pat Davies gave some interesting insight on the poppy campaign and its history. She also mentioned the number of soldiers who have served in the Canadian forces, each representing one poppy.
The ceremony came to an end with Father Derrick Cameron, who shared a message using Psalm 22. The passage mentions the cries of people mourning their loved ones as we mourn those who never returned home. However, there is hope as Father Cameron mentions, of everyone being reunited one day.
The Remembrance Day Ceremony can be seen in the TRU Student Life youtube channel where students can revisit the video and honour the forces who sacrificed their lives for the values and privileges of our country.