On a snowy November day at Woodlawn Cemetery, students place poppies on the headstones of Canada’s fallen. They’re the first in Saskatoon to participate in the No Stone Left Alone ceremony, a tradition that began in Edmonton in 2011.
The annual event is aimed at educating youth about the importance of recognizing the service and sacrifice of Canada’s military.
“It’s part of our history and it’s something that we should remember,” said Jim McDonald, local co-ordinator for the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation.
“It’s not to glorify it, that’s far from the truth, but to actually remember those people.”
McDonald, a veteran himself, said the celebration is an educational opportunity for teachers and their students.
“It’s to have something specifically for students that is an act of remembrance,” said McDonald. “It takes the pressure off November 11.”
Monday’s ceremony acknowledged the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day and gave students the opportunity to pay their respects as well; reciting the poignant poem, In Flanders Fields.
In 2017, the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation held services in more than 100 cemeteries, involving more than 8,000 students. McDonald said it’s spreading to more Canadian cities this year.
“80,000 headstones a year have been celebrated or visited by students and volunteers and its growing,” McDonald said. “We expect that there’s going to be just as many or more this year done.”
A movement Saskatoon now proudly joins to ensure no one is forgotten.