Students and staff at New Maryland Elementary School gathered in the school gymnasium Nov. 7 to honour veterans and first responders who risk their lives to serve and protect local communities, the nation, and countries around the world.
"Today, we took the time to remember the things we should be thankful for," Principal Heather Hallett told the students. "But really, we should be thankful every day."
Guest speaker Captain Michael Conley, a member of the Royal Canadian Artillery's 3rd Field Regiment in Saint John, asked the students to listen to stories about veterans, learn who they are, what services they provide, and what sacrifices they make to keep other people safe.
"In some places in the world, it is not even safe to go outside and play," Conley said. "Imagine what that would be like."
Conley shared a story about an eight-year-old girl from the Netherlands who often visited with soldiers stationed nearby during the Second World War. The soldiers wanted to help the child endure the hardships of war so they made her a winter coat out of blankets for Christmas, using buttons from their own clothing. The girl was so thrilled with the coat she kept it with her always as a remembrance of what the military did to help her and the people of the Netherlands during the war years. Conley asked the students to remember this story about the little girl and to share it with others, noting many of the military who served overseas in the Second World War never came back home.
During the ceremony, Grade 5 students recited/read the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae in both official languages, and a student choir sang John Lennon's famous song of peace called, Imagine.
Special guests at the service included Mayor Judy Wilson-Shee, Deputy Mayor Alex Scholten, Councillor Gisele McCaie-Burke, Fire Chief Harry Farrell, RCMP Sergeant Mike Litalien, Master Corporal Jimmy Desmeules, Master Corporal Ona Valdivia and retired Sergeant Scott Godfrey, who played the bagpipes. Special music was also provided for the singing of O Canada and the playing of the Last Post.