Schools in Ponoka held Remembrance Day ceremonies last week, each honouring the fallen in different ways.
Ponoka Secondary Campus
Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC) held its Remembrance Day ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
Students Cameron Catterall and Madison Hansen acted as master of ceremonies.
Cameron Hinton sang O Canada, followed by greetings from the town by Mayor Rick Bonnett.
Bonnett says watching the students file in made him think of students in 1939, who instead of thinking about moving on with their lives with further schooling or jobs, were enlisting for war.
“Remember what sacrifices were made by our veterans and fellow Canadians back in those days,” he said.
A rendition of Dulce et Decorum Est was sung by Jessi Sweet and Jaedyn Faman and Zach Hinton sang a duet of In Flanders Fields.
Guest speaker, PSC alumni Warrant Officer Stephen Ferry, joked that teacher Ron Labrie looks the same today as he did in 1996, at the start of his address.
Ferry served in the military for 17 years and his now a firefighter in Edmonton.
He spoke of some of the terrors soldiers faced in WWII and how the soldiers of today face very different challenges.
“I see the shortcomings of our country daily working in downtown Edmonton,” he said, adding that everyday, every person has the opportunity to make this country better.
The biography of this year’s Hall of Valour inductee, Private Ernest Riley, was read, and videos were shown, and candles were light while Melissa Jacobson sang Amazing Grace.
A moment of silence was observed, as well as the playing of Last Post by Aidan Emlaw, after which the candles were blown out.
Ponoka Elementary School
The school’s Remembrance Day ceremony, held Nov. 7, featured each class participating — some through reading a poem and some through songs.
There were a number of video presentations designed to show the students and those attending the meaning behind Remembrance Day as well as provide why ceremonies like this are important.
Selected students from each class also hung paper poppy wreaths from the stage and observed the Last Post at the ceremony.
St. Augustine School
After the marching in of the cadets, the drama students led the school in singing O Canada.
During the assembly, students took turns reading letters written home by soldiers, detailing conditions, their fears, and their faith.
Heart-wrenchingly, a death notification letter was also read.
According to the presentation, by 1917, up to 9 million letters and postcards were sent home each week by British and Canadian soldiers at the front lines during WWI.
In many cases, final letters were received by family after soldiers had been reported missing or killed in action.