A small group of students, faculty, course directors and staff at York University who were scheduled to be on the Keele Campus on Thursday, Nov. 11 attended the first in-person Remembrance Day ceremony since the start of the pandemic.
They were joined by a large contingent of University community members who watched the virtual town hall livestream. Both the in-person and virtual audiences gathered to pay tribute to the brave men and women who made sacrifices to ensure our freedom.
At 11am on Nov. 11, 1918, the guns on the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. Remembrance Day honours the men and women who were killed during the two world wars and other conflicts. Previously known as Armistice Day, it was renamed Remembrance Day after the Second World War.
University community members were led to the flagpole on the Harry Arthurs Common with the playing of the “Call of the Pipes” by pipe major Ian K. MacDonald of the Toronto Police Pipe Band. The ceremony continued with the signing of “O Canada” by the York University Chamber Choir. Both the in-person and online audiences were welcomed to the ceremony by Vice-President Finance and Administration Carol McAulay.
Philip Cote, Young Spiritual Elder offered remarks and sang an Indigenous song to commemorate the occasion.
Remarks were then offered by President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton spoke about the 105th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Beumount-Hamel, which saw more than 24,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders killed. This year also marks the 80th anniversary of the Defense of Hong Kong, which took place during the Second World War and the 30th anniversary of the end of the Gulf War. It is also the 85th anniversary of the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother, who is selected annually by the Royal Canadian Legion to represent all mothers who lost children to military service.
Following her remarks, Vice-Provost Students Lucy Fromowitz read the “Anthem for Doomed Youth,” and Captain Mike Ablett, a PhD student in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, offered his remarks about the importance of Remembrance Day. Ana Kraljevic, President’s Ambassador and a Glendon student to read “En Silence” and Captain Mateo Moreno, an Infantry Officer at the Canadian Armed Forces, recited “Act of Remembrance.”
“The Last Post” was played by Brittany Zecha, a York U student musician, which was followed by two minutes of silence after which MacDonald played “Lament” on the pipes and Zecha played “Reveille/Rouse.”
The event continued with the ceremonial laying of the wreaths, and the singing of “God Save the Queen” by the York University Chamber Choir.
The full video of the 2021 Remembrance Day ceremony is available to view and can be found here.