Brock’s normally bustling Rankin Family Pavilion (RFP) stood still for a moment in time Thursday, Nov. 11, with a small gathering in person and more than 1,600 people watching online stopping to reflect on the significance of Remembrance Day.
It was the second of two important days of awareness held this week, preceded by National Aboriginal Veterans Day on Monday, Nov. 8.
A small Remembrance Day ceremony was livestreamed from the RFP at 11 a.m., with Brock University Interim President Lynn Wells leading a moment of silence before being joined in the placing of wreaths in front of the Brock cenotaph by Brock University Students’ Union President Rafay Rehan, Graduate Students’ Association President Christopher Yendt, Board of Trustees Chair Mark Arthur and Royal Canadian Legion 17 representatives Dave Hale and Donna Hale.
A recording of the event can be watched below and is also available at brocku.ca/remember
Wells emphasized the importance of continuing the act of remembrance for both National Aboriginal Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, even when large, in-person gatherings are not possible due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Take a moment to reflect upon the sacrifices so many have made, and on the terrible toll war has taken — and continues to take — on humankind,” she said. “If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can accomplish things that were once thought impossible — but only by coming together for the common good. If we are to rid the world of the scourge of war, it will also be in this way — through the collective efforts of us all. Lest we forget.”
For Rehan, Remembrance Day is a reminder to “reflect on and acknowledge the freedoms that we’re privileged to have in Canada — the freedoms that were defended by our brave veterans in decades past.”
“We honour the sacrifices of brave Canadians who have served and continue to serve our country so that we can live freely, live peacefully and exercise our rights as Canadians,” he said. “By remembering their service, we recognize the future our veterans and their families sacrificed for — a future they believed in.”
Yendt, a third-generation Canadian and the grandson of two immigrant families, said it’s important to “recognize the incredible sacrifice so many Canadians have made in conflict around the world.”
“It can be easy to lose sight of the stakes of some of these conflicts given where they are taking place, but we cannot forget the impact that this country and its people have had in stemming the tide of oppression around the world.”
More information about National Aboriginal Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, as well as video messages from Brock University and student leaders, is available on brocku.ca/remember