Today marks a very important day in Canadian history. Today, in 1918, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, hostilities during World War I ended. Today is now known as Remembrance Day; we take the time to remember the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict, and peace. Specifically, we remember the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, numerous peacekeeping missions and the war in Afghanistan.
At our school’s recent Remembrance Day celebration, Mr. Tim Folkerson was our guest speaker. He is a former member of the Canadian Forces where he was an Air Defence Artillery Officer. His job was to lead a team of non-commissioned members and to prevent the enemy from interfering from the air with the operations of the Canadian Forces on the ground. Being a part of the artillery he was included in the “combat arms”, which means he was trained and performed direct tactical land combat. Often when we think about the military and think back to the world wars we may imagine just ground troops fighting. However, Remembrance Day is about more than just the troops on the ground; as Mr. Folkerson said, the infantry that assaulted the beaches of Normandy in Operation Overlord would not have been able to attack without the assistance of Lancaster bombers disabling German defences.
This is still true today in Afghanistan where, if it wasn’t for the support trades, the military would not be able to function. Helicopters flying air support need mechanics and refuelling personnel. Soldiers can’t fight without cooks to prepare meals; their vehicles will not run without maintenance, and soldiers can’t coordinate actions without highly advanced communication systems or accurate weather repots. In fact, out of every 100 military careers, only six are a part of the “combat arms”. However, these support trades play just as important of a part as the combat troops, and they still make many sacrifices: time spent away from home and being amidst the danger along with the troops.
At CCH Campus East’s Remembrance Day celebration, Brett Leeb played the trumpet for two calls that hold a lot of significance. The first call is named “The Last Post”. It signifies the beginning of two minutes of silence and historically meant that the fighting was over and the sound of the call summoned the spirits to the cenotaph (safety and rest). The second call is named “The Reveille”. The original purpose of this call was to get soldiers out of bed in the morning. In the context of Remembrance Day, the call takes place after the two minutes of silence and symbolizes the hope that there will be one day when the living and the dead arise together.
I invite you all to take part in thanking a veteran for their great service to our wonderful nation, especially to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Some ways you can do this is to personally thank a veteran, wear a poppy, and/or attend a Remembrance Day service. On November 11th, there are two services held in Lethbridge. One is held at Exhibition Park which starts at 9:30 AM, and the other is the cenotaph ceremony downtown, outside the Yates Theatre at 12:00 PM. The ceremony downtown also includes a flyby of a Canadian Forces C-17. The flyby will take place at approximately 12:20 PM.
Lest we forget.
Jules Pankoski is a Grade Twelve student at CCH. He enjoys flying, music, and travelling. His favourite thing about CCH is the two campuses.