Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s Remembrance Day ceremony.
At the front today we have a number of special guest representatives that I would like to introduce. Garett is here to represent you the students, with his writing piece titled “Remembrance.” Ms. LaBounty, our Principal, sits as a representative for all of us in the Ridgeview community. In the front row Mr. Hicks, our Assistant Superintendent has come to represent the School District of West Vancouver. Beside Mr. Hicks is Councillor Walker on behalf of the West Vancouver Municipal Government and finally, we have the honour of having Retired Captain Davenport join us as a representative of the Veterans.
Captain Davenport joined the Air Cadets at the age of 13 in Powell River. The same age as some of our grade 7s. When he was 18 he joined the Army Reserve as a member of the Irish Fusilliars. At the age of 28 Captain Davenport moved to the Navy Reserve where he spent the next 13 years. Through Captain Davenport’s leadership, his troops won the National Award for Best Naval Reserve. It is truly an honour to have you with us today Captain Davenport, along with all of our special guests.
Before I hand the microphone over to our MC’s for today’s ceremony I would like to take a moment and share what Remembrance Day means to me, because I think that although we see images of war annually at this time, and reflect on how soldiers have fought for our rights and freedom, it is also a time to connect personally to the sacrifice the soldiers and their families have made, as we say “We will Remember”. For me, my personal connection is that my grandfather, great grandfather and many great uncles, have been members with the Royal Canadian Black Watch and soldiers in battle. On Remembrance Day, I think about the sacrifice they made so I can live the life I have now. Specifically I think about my grandfather, Lt. Col Cantlie who died on July 25, 1944 at the age of 36. He was shot by machine gun fire while out inspecting an area with his troops in Northern France. He died 2 hours later from those wounds. Though I never knew my grandfather, I remember his sacrifice and the sacrifice my dad had to face never having a father as he grew up. Watching my dad sadly remember his father every Remembrance Day has had an enormous impact on me over my life, and because of that, I believe in the importance of remembering. This is my personal connection. What is yours?
When you talk to your parents tonight and tomorrow I want you to find out your personal connection to Remembrance Day. Ask your parents how war has affected them, take an interest in the stories of the veterans in your family, and respect the minute of silence tomorrow at 11am remembering those in your family who have sacrificed for you.
We will remember.