Remembrance day across campus

The Concourse was filled with members of the university community Thursday morning for Wilfrid Laurier University’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Hosted by the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) and the History Students’ Association (HSA), those assembled for the service heard speeches from Arnold Polzin, who served as a Staff Sergeant for the Canadian Forces in the Second World War, VP of student affairs David McMurray, WLUSU president Kyle Walker and members of the HSA.

“It inspires me a great deal to see how wonderful and attentive the new generation is now,” Polzin said. “The younger generation is respectful … and more aware than we were some years ago.”

Polzin spoke of his time in the Canadian Forces and how he spent the years of 1942 to 1946 enlisted, including extensive operations in Europe. He told the audience in the Concourse of being in charge of collecting vehicles and tanks that had been in battle, some containing the bodies of fallen Canadian soldiers.

“It’s very hard,” he told The Cord after the service of his attempts to relay his experiences.

He spoke about his role in speaking to students so many years after the fact and the importance of being able to relate his own first-hand experience. “The problem is that the War affected your parents and grandparents, things probably wouldn’t be the same for you as they are now,” he said.

Denise Gauthier, a member of the HSA who helped conduct the ceremony explained the importance of Remembrance Day traditions for students. “It was really important, I think, for Arnold to come so we can become educated from these veterans and their experiences,” she said. “I think simply overall that’s what it’s about – Arnold said we’re so lucky to live in this country so it’s about remembering all those who fought for us.”

“It was really a huge honour to have him here.”

Polzin concluded with the how important it is to keep Canadian history and sacrifice in mind. “What the War means to you is part of your history, and if you don’t know your history, you’re sure not going to know your future,” he said.

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