New Huron plaque for remembrance
By Ed Stack
A Remembrance Day ceremony at Huron College will have added significance today as it will include the official unveiling of a new plaque commemorating Huron College students who died while serving in the world wars.
Chris McCreery, a fourth-year history and political science student, has spent time over the last three years researching for the new plaque. He said the old plaque had many misspelled names on it.
McCreery examined records at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the national archives in Ottawa, Public Records Office in Britain and the regional collection at the D.B. Weldon library.
"This history is part of the Canadian identity," McCreery said, adding it is important to remember the sacrifices made by those who served.
Family members of some of the honoured soldiers will be present at the ceremony, as well as representatives from the Royal Canadian Legion and Royal Canadian Regiment.
Nov. 11 has been a day for remembrance since the end of the First World War. The armistice to end the Second World War came into effect on November 11, 1919 at 11 a.m..
"Remembrance Day was intended to ensure that the memory of people who sacrificed their lives is retained," said Jonathan Vance, assistant professor of history at Western. "It is important that we publicly display respect for the ideals we fought for."
The focus of Remembrance Day has shifted over time from a somewhat narrow remembrance of those who died in war, to a broader recognition of past deeds and appreciation of peace.
"The day has come to commemorate all who died in service to the community," Vance said. He added many communities use the day as an opportunity to commemorate the deaths of police and fire fighters.
The legion's annual poppy drive coincides with Remembrance Day ceremonies. The Canadian distribution of poppies began in 1921. Since then, about 14 million poppies have been distributed, said Mary Blickstead, public relations assistant for the Royal Canadian Legion.
The poppy was chosen as a symbol for the soldiers who died in battle as poppies thrived on the fields where the First World War was fought.