Remembering…through the eyes of children

One of the greatest challenges of November 11th is this – remembering the impact of what our men and women fought for when it’s becoming more and more removed from today. WWI ended over a hundred years ago and it’s been almost seventy-five years since the ‘final shot’ of WWII was fired. With every passing year, fewer and fewer of us have any direct connection to those Great Wars.

They seem to have found the key to that dilemma in Pierson – let the school children hold the service!

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Many Remembrance Day services simply ‘blow the dust’ off the previous years’ services, doing the same thing year after year. Not in Pierson! Under the leadership of teacher Jodie Malnati, the Pierson School students researched and presented what took place in a fresh, creative way. Everyone took part…with the exception of three Cadets who participated in Melita’s service. Ninety youth, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, paraded to the front of the school gymnasium for forty-five minutes, giving their take on what happened in those wars, while sixty or so members of the community looked on. As ‘co-emcees’ Erica McNish and Hannah Daniels called them forward, each class took part, giving a perspective of the war through song and poem. From Little Poppy, recited by the Kindergarten class right through to the poem, Sea of Red, read by one of the Grade 11 student, it was an interesting and informative remembrance of those difficult and costly years of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945.

See A Soldier was sung; as was What a Wonderful World. The poem Everyone Sang was read, along with several other ‘original’ poems…

For instance, the Grade 9 and 10 classes wrote and read three acrostic poems. Using the letters of the phrase, Lest We Forget, the poems were twelve lines long, each line began with the letters of that phrase. The twelve students of Grades 5 and 6 each recited a haiku they had written, a form of Japanese poetry. Perhaps the reading of those poems captured the essence of what the war accomplished – using a poetic form from a wartime enemy to help us remember the freedoms we enjoy today!

Mary-Anne Minshull-Pirie was the guest speaker, and she reminisced about her grandfather Bill’s experience in the war. He went to war in 1944, immediately after marrying Bern. He was wounded twice and helped to free Jewish people from concentration camps. It was a touching tribute…and a great personal addition to the service!

Incredibly, you could hear a pin drop during the whole two minutes of silence! It was obvious that the students’ involvement and what they had learned had garnered deep respect for what our men and women sacrificed in those two wars.

Afterwards, everyone was invited for a time of refreshments…where they could sample the baking skills of Mrs. Lee’s Food & Nutrition Class!

If you missed this year’s Remembrance Day service…well, don’t make that mistake again in 2020! 

© Virden Empire-Advance

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