Campus gathers to honour the past

Photo by Will Huang

Photo by Will Huang

For a moment on Tuesday morning, the Concourse, Wilfrid Laurier University’s busiest area on campus, went silent.

To commemorate those who fell in combat and those who continue to die in war, Laurier’s History Students’ Association put on the Remembrance Day ceremony where dozens of students, staff and faculty took time out of their day to pay their respects.

Starbucks, the Hub and the Bookstore all closed during the ceremony, which ran for about 20 minutes. The ceremony included a speech from associate professor of history and Dunkley Chair in War and the Canadian Experience, Mark Humphries, a short talk from HSA president Eric Vero and the reading of “In Flanders Fields” by David McMurray, vice-president of student affairs.

Caitlin Stuart, a music student, performed “O Canada,” “Last Post” and “Reveille” to round out the ceremony.

“It’s so important to see that a lot of people are willing to stop by and take that moment out of their day because this is something that we take a long time to plan,” said Caitlin Mulroney, vice-president: academic for HSA, who led the planning of the ceremony. “To see everyone contributing and participating just by being here, [it] really speaks to the spirit of the Laurier community.”

The main focus of this year’s ceremony was the importance of remembering a series of events that most students today are very removed from. In his speech, Vero emphasized that while memories of something 100 years ago begin to fade, it’s important to still remember.

“There’s a tendency to feel removed from conflict, but I think what’s so important is that even though we’re 100 years removed, we can still think about what these men and women had to go through in order to preserve freedom to preserve security for their country, because they were students like us,” Mulroney said.

Mulroney said she was overwhelmed by the amount of people that took time to come by and take part in the short ceremony. She explained that it’s an event the HSA begins planning in August or early September and focus on for the majority of the fall term.

“We usually like to keep the ceremony nice and short, so that people can really start to contemplate what Remembrance Day means and they can really start to take a moment to not only see the importance, but the sacrifice that went into making our society the way it is today.”

She also emphasized that in light of the recent events in Ottawa and the prominence of war today, it’s important to continue to remember people are still in combat.

“The nation is really coming together today and realizing that preserving security and preserving freedom for our country takes sacrifice,” she explained. “And I think it’s really important to commemorate not only those who came before … but to really remember our own in the present today, especially for those who give their lives.”

 

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