Thank you for your service

Grade 2 Townsview School students shared a special moment of mutual respect with Canadian armed forces veterans Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Woodstock town hall.

The 16 students from Lana McCarthy's Grade 2 French Immersion class delivered an envelope of postcards to three representatives from Woodstock ANAVETs Unit 95. The interaction between the youngsters and veterans highlighted the importance of the Remembrance week connection.

ANAVETs Unit 95 president Manderville Canam, his brother and fellow veteran Leonard Canam and ANAVET Paul Hanson graciously accepted the postcards, questions and enthusiastic comments from the children.

Hanson told the students a group of field engineers from Canadian Forces Base Gagetown would attend the November 11 Remembrance service in Woodstock. He said he would pass the greetings on to the soldiers. Noting the cards have return addresses, Hanson said he is confident many of the appreciative soldiers will respond with thank you notes to the students.

The three veterans fielded a myriad of questions from the enthusiastic children, including explanations for the many medals, bars and ribbons they proudly wore.

When the Canams noted the military decorations included recognition of their services in Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia, one of the students noted her parents were from Bosnia. Others shared stories of grandparents' and other relatives' service in Canada's armed forces.

Manderville Canam thanked McCarthy and the students for their heart-lifting gesture.

"The guys from Gagetown will be excited," he said.

McCarthy said her students discussed Remembrance Day and the poppy's significance during class. After searching a website dedicated to Remembrance Day for ideas, she said they opted to order the postcards. Each student wrote a message on a postcard, thanking a member of the Canadian Armed Forces for their service.

The envelope carrying the postcards included a letter explaining the project on one side and colourful signatures from each student on the other.

The project's highlight was the short walk from nearby Townsview School to the town hall to deliver the cards and meet the veterans.

Woodstock Mayor Art Slipp, a retired teacher, helped welcome McCarthy and the children to council chambers.

"It's wonderful to see today's youth recognize the importance of Remembrance Day," he said. "This is a wonderful project for the class to undertake."

Slipp said not only do projects like this pay homage to the men and women who served their nation in historical wars but recognized the service of modern veterans who continue to serve their country around the globe.

Hanson encouraged the students and their families to attend the Remembrance Day services in downtown Woodstock on Friday, November 11.

McCarthy said all the students enjoyed the project, noting many are anxiously waiting to see if they will receive a response from the postcard recipients.

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun