WLU reinstates ceremony

Graphic by Serena Pece.
Graphic by Serena Pece.

Remembrance Day is a time to remember the actions and lives of the brave men and women who fought in the name of Canada.

Wilfrid Laurier University’s History Student Association (HSA), in conjunction with the Students’ Union, held a ceremony in the Concourse to remember those individuals on Monday.

The service started at 10:45 a.m. with the playing of O Canada and concluded just shy of 11:11 a.m. with a moment of silence.

Eric Vero, VP academic for the HSA, was pleased with this year’s audience turnout.

“We’re really happy about this year’s ceremony. We had a great turnout of people come out and observe the ceremony.”

According to Vero, the preparation for this year’s service went smoothly.

“WLUSU helped make this an easy process. They were very accommodating, and wanted just as much as the HSA to have the ceremony take place.”

The ceremony, however, did not include a verteran speaker.

“It can be difficult to find a veteran to come speak because most times we find they would rather got to local cenotaphs,” Vero explained.

The service this year marked a reinstatement of the Laurier Remembrance Day tradition, as last year, the university did not have a ceremony.

“We didn’t hold a service last year as we didn’t feel enough students would come out as it was on a Sunday. We talked as an executive team and felt there wouldn’t be enough people on campus,” he said. “People would still have access to other services in the community, so we realized there were alternatives other than at Laurier.”

Terry Copp, a professor of history at Laurier and  director of the Laurier Centre for Military and Strategic Disarmament Studies, also believes the decision was appropriate.

“One of the ideas of having a ceremony is to have the largest amount of people participate as they can,” Copp said. “Falling on a Sunday last year, it was seen that not having a service was the correct decision.”

Copp also mentioned that resources were not an issue.

“Even if the campus was closed, last year’s service could have been held in the Military Centre. Most of the resources used in the ceremonies are volunteer-based, so there really is no cost involved in putting on a service, just coordination and planning.”

While the feeling was unanimous, Vero also said it was not an easy decision to make.

“It was done with a heavy heart. We decided what we did based on the level of expected student turnout.”

Vero also made it clear that the HSA asked students their opinion on the matter, so it was “grounded on something other than speculation.”

Reflecting on the importance of Remembrance Day, both Copp and Vero see the service as crucial to Canadian memory.

“It’s an act of remembrance to the general idea of sacrifice soldiers have taken. It’s a moment when young people come to realize the wars that occurred in the twentieth century,” Copp said.
Vero believes that Remembrance Day is a “moral obligation” for generations to come.

“Approaching almost the 100 year anniversary of World War I, Remembrance Day is a testament that living and physical memory of the war is fading. Participating in the ceremony allows for people to remember what can be learned as we start to move forward.”

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