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Remembrance Day: 'Our present is built on our past' says Megan Smith

Student Life

By Megan Smith

Between the spooky fun of Halloween and the joys of the upcoming winter season, it is important to take the time to remember those who serve and have served — and those who paid the ultimate price — so we may live our lives.

With all the upheaval in today’s world, honouring these brave individuals becomes more poignant than ever.

Entwined with Memorial’s identity

On Nov. 11, many around the world take a moment for somber reflection on Remembrance Day.

Memorial University itself “was established as a tribute to the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War and subsequent conflicts. [The university holds] profound respect for their memory and [draws] inspiration from their selflessness as we work towards building a brighter future for our province, our nation, and the global community,” so this time of reflection is entwined with its very identity.

For nearly a century, the ceremony for the city of St. John’s has been held at the National War Memorial on Duckworth Street.

However, this province’s principal monument to fallen soldiers from the First World War is currently undergoing renovations.

Initially constructed in 1924, the war memorial will be receiving the major addition of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the remains of an unidentified Newfoundland soldier will be interred.

In light of the ongoing renovations, this year’s ceremony will instead take place at the Sergeant’s Memorial on Queen’s Road. The St. John’s campus held a ceremony to mark the occasion on Tuesday, Nov. 7; the Marine Institute and Grenfell campuses will hold ceremonies on Friday, Nov. 10.

Many family connections

Remembrance Day holds a particular significance for my family and me.

Many of my relatives on both sides have served in the military in some capacity.

” . . . attend a ceremony, don a poppy or simply take a moment out of your day for silent remembrance.”

On my mother’s side, my great-great Uncle Edward died in the First World War, and my grandfather was named after him.

On my father’s side, my great-great aunt was a nurse on the front lines of the First World War.

My great-grandfather joined the Royal Navy at age 17 in the Second World War, and his daughter later joined the 36 Service Battalion. My uncle served in the same battalion.

And, both my parents served in the Canadian Navy and participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies, which we still observe as a family.

Our present is built on our past, and we must not forget those who came before us.

On Nov. 11, attend a ceremony, don a poppy or simply take a moment out of your day for silent remembrance.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

For The Fallen, Lawrence Binyon, 1914

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