A sombre mood gripped students at Steve MacLean Public School as they gathered to remember the brave men and women of the Canadian Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice to help others.
The school’s gymnasium was packed to capacity as students and staff eagerly waited to hear from Second World War veteran and chief executive officer of the War Amps, Cliff Chadderton.
Introducing Chadderton to the crowd, Steve MacLean vice principal Richard Latour described Chadderton as a great Canadian famously known for heading the War Amps, an organization helping to improve the quality of life for all amputees.
His wartime experiences enabled him to produce the Never Again documentary series that honours Canada’s military heritage and at the same time shows the lasting devastation and impact that war can have both on people and the environment.
Chadderton said Never Again should serve as a reminder for the soldiers who come after him that they should never have to go through what their forefathers did.
The 93-year-old veteran lost his right leg below the knee in 1944 while in command of a company of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, battling for the Scheldt Estuary in Belgium and Holland during the Second World War.
Steve MacLean Public School students spent the entire week studying why it’s important to remember.
They produced artwork, stories and poetry about the struggles of war and they have welcomed members of the military community into their school to provide first-hand accounts about the need for peace.
Also on hand at the Remembrance Day ceremony held on Nov. 9 was Master Cpl. Wendy Eaton.
“When you remember them, think about the choices you make today and how they can make a difference in the lives of others,” said Eaton.
“Let us remember the hundreds and thousands of men and women who have served this country in times of conflict. Let us remember those who have lost their lives in World War I and II, Korea and on peacekeeping missions.”
Eaton, who currently works at the National Defence headquarters, emphasized the need to make the world a better place and a place where “we don’t have to worry about being hurt; a place where we can live in peace with those who we love and a place where we can have the opportunity to be anything we desire,” she said.
Eaton encouraged the youngsters to be courageous in all they do.
“Anyone can be courageous if you do the right thing for the right reasons despite the harm that may come to you,” she said.
Students performed musical pieces, read poetry and participated in two minutes of silence as a sign of respect for Canadian peacekeepers.
“I believe that we can all make a difference one day and one action at a time. It is our choice; it our responsibility. Together let’s all reflect; lets all remember,” said Denise Poirier, school principal.