At a ceremony at John Abbott College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Thursday, veteran John Rutter had one wish for the children gathered to pay their respects.
“It’s the future generation and I hope they don’t have to go to war,” he said.
Rutter was a navy man in the Second World War and he and other Canadian military vets were honoured at the ceremony on Thursday.
It is the CEGEP’s 12th annual Remembrance Day ceremony. Students from McGill’s Macdonald campus also took part, but the staff at the school made sure to invite younger kids too.
“We have students from the two local elementary schools, St. Patrick and Edgewater,” said Bob McEwen, one of the organizers. “We have Macdonald High School, fantastic, closed their school for the day.”
Their goal is to make sure kids understand the sacrifices the vets made and continue to make. Organizers want them to know Canada’s history and ceremonies like this help to bring that history alive.
“We talk about the future, we talk about the present, but we very seldom talk about the past,” McEwen said.
A few kids, like 11-year-old Nathaniel Kokx from Edgewater Elementary, didn’t find it the most comfortable setting for a history lesson, noting that it was cold but understood why they were there, and it made an impression.
“It’s important that we remember the wars so that we don’t make the same mistakes,” he said.
His classmate, 12-year-old Kayleigh Lord agrees.
“It makes me feel sad because they’re giving their lives for other people that they might not even know.”
Rutter was moved that the kids actually know about the war he fought in so many years ago.
“They know about the sacrifices that we did, and for them and their future, may there never be a war, and pick up arms against anybody.”