York remembered one its own during the University’s Remembrance Day service on Friday as those in attendance were ruffled by cool autumn winds and sprinkled with rain.
York alumnus Cpl. Brent Poland (BA ’92) was remembered for his courage and sacrifice. He was killed by a roadside bomb, along with six other Canadians, in Afghanistan on Easter Sunday this year.
Left: Members of the York University community form a procession on their way to the flagpole on the Harry W. Arthurs Common, site of the ceremony
In his speech York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri paid tribute to Cpl. Poland, who served with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.
"This year, here at York, Remembrance Day has a special significance. This year we remember one of our own," Shoukri said. "Like many thousands before him, Cpl. Poland answered his country’s call to service, and like too many who answered the call, Cpl. Poland paid the ultimate price to ensure that we live in a free and peaceful country."
Left: President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri lays a wreath during the Remembrance Day service
The Remembrance Day procession began at Vari Hall, including members of the 32 Canadian Brigade Group, and wound its way to the York flagpole at the Harry W. Arthurs Common with Pipe Major Ian MacDonald of the Toronto Police Pipe Band leading the way.
Three of York’s student vocalists – Vania Chan, Laura Kelly and Leigh-Anne Martin – sang O Canada, followed by Chancellor Peter deCarteret Cory reading the poem High Flight by Officer John G. Magee, Jr. Magee wrote the sonnet on the back of a letter to his mother in November 1941.
The service also commemorated the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in the First World War and marked the 65th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid in the Second World War, what Shoukri called "one of the bloodiest chapters in Canadian history".
Right: Pipe Major Ian MacDonald of the Toronto Police Pipe Band leads the procession
"Today we reflect on the high price of peace and freedom. And we remember the men and women who have served their country in time of war…especially those who have lost their lives," Shoukri said. "Today we remember all those who served, all those who fulfilled their duty, all those who put the greater good before their own. Their legacy is our heritage and together we honour their memory."
The service concluded with the laying of the wreaths.