A day to learn, ponder, and appreciate: Remembrance Day 2014

Catriana Van Rijn
Dr. Matthews and the minister singing one of the hymns.

On Tuesday, November 11th, St. George’s school held its annual Remembrance Day ceremony in the Dixon Gym. As the last few alumni, students, and community members filed into the gym, the ceremony commenced with everyone singing “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”. During the hymn, the staff and the platform party walked down the middle aisle followed by the flag holders. This ceremony is for the school community to recognize and honour Canadian war veterans, including former students and staff that fought in World War II.

Throughout the event, hymns were sung, poems were read, and speeches were delivered. However, there were two events that really made an impact.

One of the events was when the names of all the fallen students and masters from St. George’s school were honoured. They were the 27 students that didn’t make it back alive. This speech stood out above others because it sent a clear message to everyone that attended the ceremony: these men sacrificed their lives for the future generations to have a better environment to live in.

Another significant event was the Headmaster’s Address. In the speech, Dr. Matthews spoke mainly about the Harker brothers, John and Douglas. Their names and story continue to live on through the boarding house, which is named after them, called Harker Hall. Dr Matthews talked about the brothers’ dedication towards the school and their country. As Douglas Harker went to help fight in the war, John Harker stayed behind to take care of the students in St. Georges. The speech went very in-depth about the brothers’ sacrifices and contributions in order to help the school develop and become the great institution it is today. The Harker Brothers’ legacy will continue to live on among the attendees’ hearts.

Mr. Lawrence, the principal of the school, values Remembrance Day for many reasons. “It’s such an important service or day for so many reasons. One, this service obviously allows us to reflect on the sacrifices that were made to protect the freedom that we enjoy on a daily basis. Worldwide, this is a wonderful opportunity to pay honor and tribute to [the soldiers]. For our own community, we have Georgians that lost their lives in the duty of service. It has deep historical roots and great meaning for us to carry on every year.”

When asked why Remembrance Day is important, Dr. Matthews replied, “Remembrance Day is significant to me both personally and in my role as a Headmaster. Personally, it’s important because of the connection to my own family: my grandfathers, uncles and family members that fought in World War II and individuals I have known that lost their loved ones and family members. In my role as a Headmaster, Remembrance Day is important because it is the most significant event we do that involves the old boys. It’s the single most important long-lasting tradition at the school. We’ve lost many traditions at St. Georges but Remembrance Day and the way we honour it, has not changed since the school was founded.”