Hundreds of crosses help P.E.I. students understand the importance of remembrance

·2 min read
Each cross has a poppy and the name of a veteran on it. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)
Each cross has a poppy and the name of a veteran on it. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)

A group of Grade 9 students on P.E.I.'s North Shore pitched in to help North Rustico get ready for Remembrance Day — by lending a hand with the community's display in honour of its veterans.

The display features hundreds of tiny crosses, each bearing the name of a local veteran. The project was organized by the Knights of Columbus in 2020, and this year they asked a group of local students to help them set it up at the local cenotaph.

"It's very important for the Knights of Columbus, and for the community, to make a connection with the youth today so that they can remember, and hopefully we pass the torch to the next generation," said James Donnelly, grand knight with the Knights of Columbus (KOC).

"I think the students probably have a connection, they probably have a relative or a great-grandfather or a great-uncle in this list of names here. I hope that they understand that it's a connection to their past."

Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC
Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC

The students helped lift the rows of crosses, put them in alphabetical order by name and nail them into the ground. The work was done hand in hand with KOC members and local veterans like Simon Lemay.

"I want them to realize that if it wasn't for the people that died, our country would not be the same," said Lemay. "I really love to see the kids helping and learning a little bit more."

He's hopeful that by helping younger generations understand remembrance, the memory of those lost will be kept alive for years to come.

"We have to learn from the past," said Lemay.

Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC
Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC

For students like Callie MacDougall, the chance to learn from local veterans, and join them in honouring those who are no longer with us, was special.

"It means a lot to be here and be able to talk to veterans that fought for us, and it feels great to be able to participate in the community," said MacDougall.

Student Gracen Peters said her great-grandfather served in the military.

"It means a lot to show respect to him and everyone else," she said.

This year, several new names are part of the carefully-researched display: veterans who died in the past year. Officials with the Knights of Columbus hope that this annual act of remembrance will offer some comfort to loved ones and the community as a whole, and help ensure area veterans are never forgotten.

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