INNISFAIL - Dozens of young students from St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Catholic School braved the chilly autumn weather to honour Canada’s finest.
About 50 Grade 3 and 4 students from St. Marguerite headed to the Innisfail Cemetery from 12:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Oct. 27 to place poppies on the gravestones of Canadian veterans.
The students were participating in a No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation event, which is dedicated to honouring and remembering Canada’s veterans. The initiative was created to provide students and youth with an authentic experience that creates knowledge, understanding and appreciation of those who served, and of the sacrifice of Canada’s fallen.
In 2019, almost 12,300 students from 127 schools in Canada placed 64,503 poppies in 121 cemeteries.
“It’s important for students to take part in this because it provides them a tangible connection to those who served and sacrificed for our freedom,” said Kimi Abreu, a Grade 4 teacher at the school. “It is vital for them to see that members of their own community were involved in wars and battles.”
Abreu said participating in No Stone Left Alone initiative also connects directly to the curriculum.
“Students are visiting the grave sites of those who have had a significant role in shaping Alberta's identity,” she said.
And school principal Kelly Jacobson noted it was also a chance for everyone involved to connect the great sacrifice and valour of Canada’s military heroes at the local level.
“It is especially important for the students to honour those who lived in our community,” said Jacobson. “Our students participate in this activity to honour and remember the veterans who sacrifice so much for all of us.”
David Griffin, assistant principal, said the school has made a special visit to the Innisfail Cemetery for Remembrance Day for at least the last two years.
Griffin said it is important for the school to be a part of this initiative as generations become farther apart from the citizens who sacrificed their lives in past wars.
He added the school wants to make sure it’s ingrained with today’s youth that the bountiful way of life they all enjoy is due to the courageous people who are no longer here.
“Just because they are not here anymore doesn’t mean that the value of what the did is less important. It is forever important,” said Griffin, noting the War of 1812, a conflict between British North American (Canada) and the United States. “Those were our ancestors and we don’t really think about them, right? We don’t celebrate that. Time eventually takes away the realness of historical events, and this is an attempt to make sure time doesn’t erase history.”
For more information on the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation, visit its website at www.nostoneleftalone.ca