An annual assembly to commemorate the sacrifices made and the lives lost helps ensure the meaning of Remembrance Day remains in the hearts and minds of students at Belmont Secondary School.
Three students from Belmont’s leadership class who will host the school’s Remembrance Day assemblies on Nov. 8 believe it’s important for today’s youth to pay tribute to the men and women who lost their lives in service to their country.
“To me personally, Remembrance Day is a time to appreciate the sacrifices others made so that we can enjoy the quality of life we have today in Canada,” said Keagan Tate, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student. “My great-grandfather took information back and forth on a motorcycle during the second World War,” Tate said. “I never met him but I think about him a lot at this time of the year.”
One of the challenges for students in understanding what Remembrance Day is about is that students today are accustomed to a lifestyle that’s vastly different from the way it was. “It’s hard to imagine what it was like in a time of war,” Tate said. “I think students appreciate the significance of the Remembrance Day assemblies because they understand the seriousness of it.”
Kyla Kooy, 16, said Nov. 11 has a lot of meaning for her in part because her father served in the British military, but more-so because her great-grandfather served in the Canadian Army for more than 40 years. “I’m very proud of the fact that he devoted so much of his life to serving his country,” noted the Grade 11 student. “My great-grandparents grew up in Holland during the war. My great-grandmother got loaded onto a garbage truck with other kids when she was young and got separated from her siblings. She had to live for a few years not knowing if her parents were still alive. I can’t imagine what that would be like. That’s why it’s so important to remember every year, even though it was such a long time ago. We wouldn’t have the freedom we have today if it wasn’t for the men and women who lost their lives.”
Grade 11 student Steven MacAskill, who noted that the old Belmont school on Jacklin Road was originally an army barracks, said the assemblies play an important role in recognizing the sacrifices that were made. “For people my age, it’s tough to imagine what it was like to serve in a World War,” said the 16-year-old. “You hear about people who volunteered when they were 16 and faked their ID to sign up. That wouldn’t happen now. They wouldn’t be allowed to do that because of the way information is shared today. My great-grandfather was a flight instructor with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. I would have loved the chance to meet him and thank him for his service.”