Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget

Today was November 11th.  On this day, people around the world stop, reflect, remember and appreciate the efforts and sacrifices made by their forebears.  In Canada, we take time to acknowledge the military personnel who have given and continue to give so much for the way of life we enjoy.  Sometimes it feels as though we take for granted the comfortable and orderly lifestyle in Canada, but when we stop and recall all that has gone into creating this way of life, we can't help but feel overwhelmed and forever indebted.

Yesterday our school held its Remembrance Day ceremony, acknowledging the sacrifices of the past and present, and linking these struggles to the lives we lead now.  For many of our students, the wars from years gone by seem so far removed that it can be difficult for them to identify with the sacrifices people have made.  The goal of our ceremony was to acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices, and link them to the experiences our students now enjoy.

This year, the ceremony was run exclusively by and featured several performances from our students.  We invited a guest, Mr. Tony Spiring, who we recognized as a veteran and who was captivated by the tribute our students put together.  Morgan Steele and Sarah Aljeboury acted as Masters of Ceremony, our concert band under the direction of Ms. Freeman and singer Pearl Xu led a stirring rendition of "O Canada", and Richmond Cadet and member of this year's graduating class, Kevin Zhao gave an inspiring and poignant opening address to the audience.  He was followed by Anna Toth who gave a stunning performance of a beautiful song she wrote in honour of Remembrance Day called "There's a Shadow".  There was also a striking video montage put together by Mrs. Carvalhiero and the Photography class as well as Calvin Li's playing of "The Last Post" and "Reveille".  The Burnett Glee club performed "Amazing Grace", four of our students performed the poem "Why wear a Poppy?", and we closed with another uplifting video montage put together by Mrs. Carvalheiro and the Photography class, reminding us to appreciate the freedoms and rights we have been given as part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It was truly an inspiring ceremony that made the audience appreciate the talents of our students and the sacrifices made by those before us to enable our way of life.
As stated by our guest, Mr. Spiring, the ceremony was truly impressive.  He explained to me after it was over that he has been attending ceremonies like these for several years, and while he appreciated all that he has seen, he had never before been part of one so moving and inspirational.  Like me, he was awed by the talents of our students, and even more impressed by the audience members who observed with such respect and dignity.  The behaviour of our students, especially when watching one another, is remarkably respectful and added a fantastic element to the ceremony that made all of us within the Burnett community proud.

I would like to say thank you to all those who planned, coordinated and performed in the ceremony, and also recognize all of our staff and students for the exceptional decorum from the audience.  It was truly and inspirational event that made me very proud of who we are, where we've been and where we are going.  I would be remiss if I did not also thank the countless military personnel and their families for all they have done and the sacrifices they have made to enable the way of life we enjoy in Canada.  Thank you.

Congratulations on a job well done and never forget.

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