Heroes remembered in solemn ceremony
By Laura Katsirdakis
SONG FOR ALL THE FALLEN SOLDIERS OF THE GREAT COUNTRY OF CANADA. The
UWO choir sings during Western’s Remembrance Day ceremonies in
the University Community Centre atrium yesterday.
The University Community Centre atrium was host to a sizable crowd yesterday for the Remembrance Day ceremony organized by the University Students' Council - even the balconies were lined with observers.
Carson Choy, USC Remembrance Week commissioner, noted this is the third year the USC has held such a ceremony. "We must remember - so many people sacrificed themselves for this way of life, it would be a grave mistake to forget.
"We must acknowledge the courage and gallantry of those who served for their country," Choy added.
Conducting readings and prayers during the service were representatives of different faiths. "War is a reality of our past and it doesn't seem like it will be retiring in the near future," said Rabbi Mordechai Silberberg.
Dr. Howard Cameron spoke to the crowd about his experience during the war. "You probably think of war veterans as old guys wearing black berets and a row of medals, but back then we were just young people like you," he said.
Cameron went on to describe his five years of service during the Second World War, beginning with his enlistment as an 18-year-old, fresh out of high school in 1939. One of the anecdotes he recounted described his replacement at the last minute on an infantry mission - his replacement ended up being held as a prisoner of war for three years.
In another anecdote, Cameron spoke of a British soldier who made it past barriers that seemed impossible. When asked how he did it, the soldier simply said "Sir, somebody has to get through." Cameron remarked that even with all the current technology used in military operations, the idea that "somebody has to get through" is powerful and cannot be replaced.
"It was our duty," Cameron said, of his service in the war.
"If your country ever has to go to war I know that you too will do your duty," Cameron said, after wishing the audience good luck and good health in life.
"This past century has been the most war torn and destructive of human history," said Paul Davenport, Western's president. He spoke of the need to remember those who served in past wars and support those who currently serve Canada.
"Each of us has our own way of remembering - it is a challenge for those of us in the younger generations," said Rev. John Crowdis, Western's Presbyterian Chaplain.
This challenge was apparent when, during the moment of silence, the sound of bouncing basketballs in the gym and rustling activity at CentreSpot could be heard.
"By pausing and taking some time [to reflect on Remembrance Day], we have the opportunity to learn what we can do individually for peace," Crowdis said of the younger generation with no first-hand memories of war.
As the ceremony closed, the UWO choir sang "In Remembrance" as wreaths were laid and the audience came forward to lay their poppies at the foot of the monument, beginning with Cameron and the rest of the Western Senior Alumni.