11 November, 1918 marked the end of World War I. Canada commemorates the centennial of the start of the Great War this year.
On 10 and 11 November, MGCI held several events in remembrance of the soldiers who have given up their lives in international conflicts.
In period 3 on Monday 10 November, Ovais Ahmed, a former soldier of the Canadian Armed Force, came to Marc Garneau CI to give a presentation about his time on the battlefield. Mr. Ahmed started his presentation with a simple quote. “Everyone has a story.” A decorated two-time war veteran with the Canadian Armed Forces, he first joined the military when he was 19. He shared a wide range of experiences, from his near-death experiences, to his battle against post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to the power of having strong leadership skills.
The students were moved by his words. “It wasn’t just another Remembrance Day assembly.” Grade 11 student, Tahura Iqbal commented, “Ovais Ahmed was a great inspiration to me! I think he taught us great values on leadership, and what it takes to become a strong leader.”
Ahmed’s definition of Remembrance Day was simple: “[it] is a day to remember the sacrifices of not only the soldiers fighting, but all the parents, the children, everyone. That is what I think Remembrance Day is about.”
Shamilah Mukhtar, another Grade 11 student, said, “we all should take a moment to remember those who sacrificed their tomorrow to give us our today.”
The events were not limited to one presentation. In respect of the veterans who gave their life for Canada, hundreds of paper poppies were hand cut and displayed in the cafeteria, spelling out phrases such as “Lest We Forget”, and “1914-1918”. Student Council, its sub-committees, and other volunteers took part in preparing the poppies for this display. The cafeteria was decorated after school on Friday 7 November. The idea originated from Mr. Alexander, SAC’s staff advisor.
On Remembrance Day itself, several students from the school who are air cadets performed a flag ceremony outside by the flagpole. At 11 am, they raised the Canadian flag, stayed silent until 11:11, then lowered it. Michael Shu, a Grade 12 student and air cadet, performed the Last Post on trumpet. Inside over the PA system, In Flanders Fields by John McCrae was recited by Mr. Sharp and Grade 12 student Selina McCallum presented her original poem titled Not Only in November. A moment of silence was held.