As The Last Post resounds throughout the Concourse at the Fred Nichols Campus Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University, students will be taking the time to reflect on the impacts of war and the important role veterans play in our society.
Laurier’s Remembrance Day ceremonies will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the Concourse, as part of an ongoing tradition put on by the History Students Society (HSA). Brendan O’Driscoll, a fourth-year representative of the HSA, spoke on the challenges of putting on a respectful ceremony.
“We don’t often have many people in full military dress; it’s hard to get them to come to Laurier. Typically we try and get a veteran, some years that’s not possible,” he explained. “This year we have a fourth-year student speaking about her experience travelling across the battlefields of Europe with her history seminar.”
John Laband, a history department chair, professor and associate of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS), reminded us of why we should remember.
“It’s important to keep in mind that our freedoms and our democratic, liberal or open society is something that might not have existed. We have a great deal to thank these people for. If we lost the Second World War then we’d be living in a remarkably different society,” Laband said.
The sacrifice of veterans and current servicemen and women comes as a reminder of what is at stake when a country is at war. “It’s a question of remembering what [wars are] about, what it means to society, and how you should, as part of your education and your lives, think of war. And, rather than embracing it, think of it as something to really make sure it does not happen.” Laband said.
He added that Remembrance Day is not just about the World Wars.
“Remembrance is about war and the pain of war.”
Laband expressed that we should recognize veterans’ contributions as a reminder of the freedoms we enjoy.
“One should understand what war means, that sometimes it’s inevitable …. The best wars are the wars that don’t happen …. The cost of human life is too great. There are huge ripple effects on the families of those who died, and the complete dislocations that follow.”
Remembrance Day ceremonies at Laurier are set to include a performance of
The Last Post by a quintet of music students, followed by a minute of silence and reverie as per tradition. A reading of “In Flanders Fields” will be performed, along with a reception in the Hawk’s Nest in the Turret. The reception will include a book signing for Canadian Battlefields, 1915-18.