By SHELLEY SIM
Trustee, School District 73
FREEDOM. It may be one of the most important words in human consciousness. Our many freedoms allow us the opportunity to vote, to advocate without fear and for all children to have access to education. These simple freedoms that we sometimes take for granted are still beyond the grasp of millions of people in many parts of the world.
From the last Friday in October until Nov. 11, millions of Canadians proudly wear a poppy as a symbol of Remembrance. The poppy is a visual pledge to commemorate and honour Canadian veterans who sacrificed themselves in the name of freedom.
Their sacrifice ensured protection of the “free world”. It is hard to imagine anything else, and yet the global battles still rage in hopes of gaining what we so unreservedly enjoy.
The torch, the responsibility of upholding freedom and honouring the sacrifices made for this freedom, burns bright throughout our district.
Teachers take this time to ensure our past continues to be remembered at each stage of a student’s life, from simple poppy art in primary grades, to exploration of John McCrae’s poem or through dramatic performance in intermediate and secondary grades.
Support for schools to carry on the legacy of Remembrance comes from Veteran’s Affairs and partnerships with community Legions.
Teachers inspire reflection and contemplation by asking questions. What does it mean to “keep the peace” and what is the current role and responsibility of students to uphold the values inherent in freedom?
We are grateful to teachers for their work in developing excellent learning opportunities around this important issue. We are also thankful for the time taken by each school to create meaningful Remembrance Day ceremonies that engage their students and community. These moments matter.
Every school has its own Remembrance Day ceremony in the days immediately prior to Nov. 11, as mandated by the School Act. Each school assembly is a culmination of the classroom teachings that raised awareness of the importance of honouring our veterans.
Throughout the district there are many skilled teachers and administrators who go above and beyond to ensure this annual required event is both poignant and memorable. Without their efforts, our society could lose its ability to sincerely remember all that has been gained thanks to those who gave so much.
The Remembrance Day ceremony has played a major role in Remembrance since 1931. Every year, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we gather in memorial parks, community halls, workplaces, schools and homes to stand in honour of all who have fallen.
Together, we observe a moment of silence to mark the sacrifice of the many who have fallen in the service of their country, and to acknowledge the courage of those who still serve.
From the poem, In Flanders Fields, John McCrae gifts us all with a responsibility:
“To you from failing hands we throw
“The torch: be yours to hold high.
“If ye break faith with us who die
“We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
“In Flanders Fields.”
This Nov. 11, at 11 a.m., trustees throughout the district will place a wreath on the cenotaphs in Kamloops, Barriere, Clearwater and Chase. We all play an important part in continuing to honour and remember Canada’s fallen veterans and ensuring that we will never forget them.
Shelley Sim is a second-term trustee for School District No. 73 representing the rural communities of Clearwater, Area A, and Area O.