The walls of Fort Langley Elementary school’s gymnasium were decorated with pictures of poppies and representations of what Remembrance Day meant to each student.
In complete silence, each class walked into the gym to respect and reflect on those gave their lives during the wars Canadian soldiers fought in.
Principal Colleen Harvie welcomed staff students, and special guests which included John Jackman (great grandson of Phillip Jackman, who was a Royal Engineer sent from Britain to settle Fort Langley in 1863), Aldergrove Veterans and Seniors Society President Kay Jule, retired educator Bev Kitteningham, and Township Mayor Jack Froese.
“We take this time to say thank you to those fought for all of us in this room so we could have freedom,” Principal Harvie said before passing the microphone to Mayor Froese, who carried with him a soldier’s helmet kept at the Township office..
“I remember when I was your age, my principal brought his helmet with him to Remembrance Day – he was a solider in the war and it meant a lot to me,” Froese said.
Mayor Froese then gifted a book my local historian Warren Sommer called Canucks in Khaki: Langley, the Lower Mainland, and the Great War of 1914 to 1918.
A new addition of the book Philip Jackman by Virginia Cooke about guest John Jackman’s great grandfather was also gifted to the school’s library.
The students of Fort Langley Elementary also had quite a had in the ceremony. After a Kwantlen First Nations welcoming with drums and traditional instruments, poems such as In Flanders Fields, Poppy Poppy What Do You Say?, and even original works were recited.
After several videos on the history of Remembrance Day and the poppy, a moment of silence, and a trumpeted rendition of Taps by retired teacher Janice Perrier, representatives from each class took up wreaths crafted and coloured by the students up to the front of the ceremony.
“We wear a poppy to show that we remember our veterans and those in our armed forces and that were grateful for everything they did to make the world a better place,” Froese added.
Fort Langley Elementary’s ceremony took place on Thursday morning, Nov. 7 from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.