Glendon community remembers those who gave their lives for freedom

A large gathering of people from York’s Glendon campus joined in remembering those who gave their lives so that others may live in peace during a Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11. 

Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts spoke about the importance of remembering those who have served and who continue to serve our country. “Most of us have no memories of the Second World War, and we are unlikely to have anyone among us who remembers the First World War, whose official end was marked by what we know today as Remembrance Day," said McRoberts. "But in addition to remembering, this is also an occasion to recognize those who gave their lives in more recent wars, and those who are putting themselves in the way of danger at the present time. Canadians are providing protection in many parts of the world today in order to ensure a better future for others and for ourselves.”

The Glendon Musical Ensemble (GME) choir sang a moving rendition of “In Flanders Fields”, a poem set to music, which was written in 1915 during the First World War by Canadian physician and Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, after he witnessed the death of a close friend.

Françoise Mougeon, Glendon’s associate principal of academics & research, read a short text about a little child who put a wreath on a memorial for a father he would never know. She recalled her grandfather, who had given his life in the First World War, as well as her own father, who had been a prisoner of war during the Second World War. “We should remember, and we must teach our children to remember their sacrifice so that we could live in a more peaceful world,” said Mougeon.

Left: Françoise Mougeon

Amanda Sartori, president of the Glendon College Student Union read a moving story about the generation that was lost in the First World War, the horror of battle and the bravery of a 19-year-old soldier who insisted on going over the top, to almost certain death, in order to be with his best friend who had gone over before him. He finds his friend, who is mortally wounded, but says, “I knew you would come.” And when his commanding officer finds him after the battle, also mortally wounded, the young soldier says, “I needed to go to my friend. He would have done the same for me.”

Bahia Moussouni, a member of Glendon’s staff and a participant in the GME choir, read from “Le dormeur du val”, a gentle, moving poem by Arthur Rimbaud about a young soldier who seems to be asleep in a beautiful verdant valley – but in fact is dead, with two red holes on his right side.

McRoberts then spoke of the renewal of national pride among Canadians and a general awareness of our country’s participation in fighting for peace in distant places, such as Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Right: Bahia Moussouni

A short documentary film, The Highway of Heroes, was screened during the ceremony. It showed the route between Trenton, Ont., and Toronto along Highway 401, along which the returned bodies of Canada’s fallen soldiers are brought to their final resting place. The film depicts many Canadians – soldiers, police, firefighters and ordinary civilians – lining the highway and the overpasses, saluting and waving the Canadian flag, to honour those who give their lives for freedom.

The ceremony was brought to a close by the singing of the national anthem, in French and English, by all those who were in attendance.

Click here to read about the Keele Remembrance Day ceremony.

Submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny