Remembering Canada’s fallen heroes

Standing under grey skies around the flagpole on the Harry Arthurs Common, a crowd of faculty, staff and students gathered at 11am on Friday, Nov. 10, to remember the men and women who had given their lives during the First and Second World Wars and most recently in Afghanistan.

 Above: The flag was lowered in remembrance of Canada’s war dead

York’s Remembrance Day service offered a moving tribute to the country’s fallen. Most of those who attended the service were led in a procession from Vari Hall rotunda to the flagpole by Ian MacDonald, a pipe major with the Toronto Police Pipe Band. They were accompanied by members of the 32 Canadian Brigade Group and guests from the Land Forces Central Area.

Right: A wreath of remembrance

As the Canadian flag flew at half staff, York Chancellor Peter Cory and Vice-President Students Robert Tiffin addressed those who attended the solemn ceremony. Albert Tucker, president of the York University Retirees Association, read Siegfried Sasson’s poem The Death-Bed,  and York film student Ryan Knight read the classic poem In Flanders Fields. An excerpt from For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon titled, “Act of Remembrance”, was read by Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Perchel, commanding officer of  the Royal Regiment of Canada and a faculty member in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies.

Left: Ian MacDonald, a pipe major with the Toronto Police Pipe Band plays Lament 

Wreathes of remembrance were laid at the flagpole by Cory, Tucker and Knight for the York community, by the soldiers and by a representative of the Royal Canadian Legion for veterans. Trumpeter Randall Pilson played Last Post before two minutes of silence. This was followed by Reveille played by Pilson, and Lament, played by MacDonald. The poem High Flight by Officer John G. Magee Jr., was read by Cory.

Following the ceremony, those in attendance were invited to a screening of the award-winning short film The Road of the World, directed by Knight. As a winner of the National Film Board’s Make Shorts, Not War! competition, Knight was selected as a youth videographer for the Veterans Affairs Canada youth delegation to Belgium and France. Following the screening, Knight shared his experiences and answered questions. (For the full story on Knight’s accomplishment, see the Aug. 18 issue of YFile.)