Yesterday, we paid our respects at our Remembrance Day ceremonies. Putting my obvious bias aside, I have to attest that our school was at its very best. Populists might call what we experienced “flow.” Call it what you may, there is no doubt that the character, care and respect that we work so hard to create at CDS, were on full display. And I couldn’t have been more proud of our students, faculty and staff.
Somehow, every year at Remembrance Day, our school manages to make real to a group of young people, the importance of events that pre-date their very existence and even that of their parents. There are reverent and creative drama pieces, emotive music and heart-felt words. All led by our students.
At this year’s Middle/Senior School assembly, the special speaker was Dr. Eric McGeer, author of “Canada’s Dream Shall be of Them” and several other published works of tribute to our fallen Canadian soldiers. Dr. McGeer was also our guide on last year’s CDS trip to Vimy Ridge. On many stops along our deeply touching tour through Flanders, he would describe the character of our troops as always being particularly “brave and strong.” Just prior to the assembly, I checked in with one of our student speakers Taylor Priest '18, who was set to recant her own impressions of Vimy from last March Break. Taylor appeared to be quite nervous, so I told her to be “brave and strong” just like our troops always are. She smiled and remarked that being brave, strong and courageous was exactly what she was about to speak about. She got up and delivered her remembrance in true Canadian fashion.
Then followed our Junior School assembly, where after laying tribute wreaths and hearing of the plight of helpless animals impacted by the war, some of our youngest learners followed suit with their own expressions of valediction to our lost Canadian soldiers. Their tributes were also offered up in a remarkably reverent and compassionate manner. Grade 5 student Walker Bain, offered up his own composition:
They are brave They are courageous They are strong
They helped our country They gave us hope They gave us freedom
They made our country what it is today They risked their lives They have fallen for us They honoured our country