Remembrance Day Service
Corporal Josh Fordham of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders graciously volunteered to play the bagpipes at our annual Remembrance Day Service

At 9:00 am on Monday, November 10th, students, staff, and about a dozen parents gathered in the IHMS gym for the annual Remembrance Day service. This is a special prayer service conducted every year by the school to commemorate the Canadian soldiers who fought and died in current and previous wars.

After a brief welcome by Mr. Picklyk, everyone rose for "O Canada", the national anthem, followed by a reading of the biblical passage Ephesians 4: 25-27, 29-32 by Sister Anne Pidskalny SSMI.

Sr Anne reading Ephesians 4: 25-27, 29-32

This was followed by a short video projected onto the gym wall entitled “Lest We Forget”.

"Lest We Forget" projected onto the gym wall

Next, three students from grade 6 (Kurt K., Jordan M., and Dayna H.) read touching stories about relatives that have died in war.

(l-r): Kurt K., Jordan M., and Dayna H.

Orian B., the student council vice-president, read a passage entitled “Why Wear a Poppy”. Mrs. Stanowych, the school’s Music teacher, then lead the performing group in a song entitled “In Flanders Fields”.

Orian B. reading "Why We Wear a Poppy"
Mrs. Stanowych leading the performing group in the song “In Flanders Fields”

Next, four students from grade 8 (Katia S., Natalia I., Nicholas B., and Olia M,) read a short “Sentence of Remembrance”. This was a description of their thoughts and feelings about Remembrance Day from an assignment they did for Mrs. Naurocki in class.

For most students, the highlight of the Remembrance Day service is the traditional laying of the wreath by the school’s “Colour Party”. The Colour Party was composed of a group of grade 6-8 students who belong to a “uniform” wearing organization such as Sum, Plast, or the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

The Colour Party lined up in the foyer just before their march to the cenotaph

The Colour Party marched loudly and in perfect formation from the gym entrance, along the back wall, and down the middle of the gym to the symbolic cenotaph at the front. Zenya S. laid the wreath on the cenotaph and then stepped back and saluted while the rest of the marchers filed around on either side of the cross.

The marchers assumed their positions and saluted during a recorded bugle call entitled “Last Post”. The Last Post is a bugle call that has been incorporated into military funerals where it is played as a final farewell, symbolising the fact that the duty of the dead soldier is over and that they can rest in peace. Everyone remained silent and solemn while the Colour Party held their salute during the moment of silence.

Members of the Colour Party saluting during the moment of silence

At the completion of the one minute of silence, a special guest at this year’s service - Corporal Josh Fordham of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders - began playing a traditional song called “Lament” on the bagpipes.

Corporal Josh Fordham playing the song “Lament” on the bagpipes

The Remembrance Day service ended with a “Peacemaker Prayer” and the prayer “Our Father” recited in Ukrainian. A recording of “Amazing Grace” (performed on bagpipes) was played as students filed out of the gym and back to their classes.

Nobody enjoys war and nobody wants to go to war, but wars still happen all the time. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers are fighting and dying in wars around the world at this very moment. Although there are presently no wars in Canada, we still have a military presence in Afghanistan where our troops are fighting and dying on a daily basis. So far 97 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan since early 2002, more than any other country except the U.S.

Number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan each year:

  • 2002: 4
  • 2003: 2
  • 2004: 1
  • 2005: 1
  • 2006: 36
  • 2007: 30
  • 2008: 23

The efforts of these brave Canadian men and women in Afghanistan give additional meaning to the importance of our annual Remembrance Day service.