At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, two moving Remembrance Day ceremonies were held on the University’s Keele and Glendon campuses. Both ceremonies saw record turnouts as York students, faculty and staff gathered under the flagpoles on each campus to remember the bravery and courage of Canadian war veterans.
At the Keele campus, a crowd of more than 300 people gathered at the flagpole in the Harry W. Arthurs Common. The Glendon campus saw close to 100 community members attend the service. Both events included lowering of the flags to half mast, readings of important poems and passages from texts, and the laying of wreathes.
|Above: University community members pay tribute to Canadian war veterans|
At Keele, President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri urged attendees never to forget the bravery of those who put their lives and dreams on hold to make the ultimate sacrifice. He asked students to do everything in their power to continue to protect freedom and democracy, not only for themselves, but for future generations.
Chancellor Emeritus Peter deCarteret Cory, a veteran of the Second World War, read the poem “High Flight” by Officer John Magee Jr. He was followed by Albert Tucker, professor emeritus and a veteran of the Second World War, who read Siegfried Sassoon’s 1918 poem “The Death-bed”.
Students Rica Maliwat, Camila Acosta and Carla Molina from James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic Secondary School read original poems. Lieutenant Colonel Walter Perchal, former commanding officer of The Royal Regiment of Canada and a York faculty member, recited “Act of Remembrance” as community members responded with “we will remember”. Children from the York Co-operative Daycare also sang an endearing rendition of “The Poppy Song”.
At Glendon, Principal Kenneth McRoberts spoke about the importance of marking the day, especially given that Canada has a continued military involvement in Afghanistan, resulting in a new generation of veterans.
Right: Glendon faculty, staff and students listen to Rosanna Furgiuele read “Thanks for Tea”
Rosanna Furgiuele, Glendon’s associate principal, student services, read a war memory with the title “Thanks for Tea”. Fourth-year year international studies student Alexandra Verbinschi read war veteran Elvis Baptiste’s poem, “A Veteran’s War is For Life”. In it, Baptiste explains that the passing of time and the honours received do not erase the fear and the horrors experienced in action.
Professor Michael Barutciski, graduate program director of the Glendon School of Public & International Affairs, read “Pourquoi nous nous battons” (Why are we fighting?), a French-language poem written at 23 by Corporal Andrew Grenon of Windsor, Ont., during his second tour of action in Afghanistan. Grenon was later killed when his vehicle was attacked by insurgents.
Following the Keele campus ceremony, students from James Cardinal McGuigan joined in a fireside chat with veterans, who shared their stories of the Second World War and answered questions. The students also participated in an interactive program using archival materials in the Ontario Archive Building.
Compiled with files from Marika Kemeny, Glendon communications officer