Annual ceremony absent this year

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(Photo from Flickr Commons)

Anyone who walked through the concourse on Sunday may have noticed a strange lack of activity. For the first time in nearly ten years, Wilfrid Laurier University did not have a Remembrance Day ceremony.

The ceremony had been put on in the Concourse every year by the History Students’ Association.

“I think the university kind of liked the students taking the control part of it,” said Terry Copp, professor emeritus at Laurier. “And this year students decided because it was on a Sunday…there was no point in having one like previous years because there would be no students around.”

The University of Waterloo had their ceremony on Friday afternoon, but the HSA voted against having the ceremony on a different date.

“We talked about the pros and cons of hosting it on the Friday or the Monday afterwards,” said Brendan O’Driscoll, an executive member of the HSA.

“We decided that it probably wasn’t appropriate to have it on a Friday or Monday; we decided that we were just going to do a pass on it this year because no one was going to be around on the actual day.”

Copp agreed with the idea that Remembrance Day shouldn’t be celebrated earlier or later.

“I think it’s important that Remembrance Day take place at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day. My grandaughter’s school did it on Monday, and for people in grade five that’s fine, but for university students, pretending to have Remembrance Day a day late doesn’t make any sense,” explained Copp.

Laurier’s website posted a notice of local Remembrance Day ceremonies in Waterloo and Kitchener, so students still had an opportunity to participate.

Laurier’s ceremony has been a great success in prior years due to the number of students that travel through the concourse on a given morning. Copp noted that while some students would show up “purposefully,” many more were attracted “accidentally.”

“It’s unfortunate to break such a tradition,” said Michael Onabolu, president and CEO of the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union. He noted that a token of appreciation was necessary for troops that protected our freedoms.

“When we do the Remembrance Day ceremony, we incur a cost,” added O’Driscoll.  “WLUSU has covered some of it before, but we usually incur a cost out of our own club pocket, so that was a factor in our decision as well.”

Next year the HSA plans to continue the tradition of hosting an event, and there is still a strong belief that students do care about the day.

O’Driscoll doesn’t believe that this one year will have any effect on the reputation of the ceremony or the school itself.

Disclaimer: Campus News Editor Elizabeth DiCesare is also president of the History Students’ Association.

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