Under grey skies Monday, more than 100 children from Richard McBride Elementary school in New Westminster clutched their bright red poppies. Then they carefully selected a headstone at the Fraser Cemetery, before reading the name of the fallen soldier aloud.
“Bruce Templeton, died 1948… E.M. Hagenson 3 Dec. 1948… William W Dublin private. 1886 to 1937… Lest we forget,” read the children.
A moment of reflection followed, and the poppy was laid to rest on the stone. It is all part of a growing national program called No Stone Left Alone, which brings veterans and children together to pay tribute to soldiers of the past.
“The simple act of placing a poppy on the headstone has a profound impact. It encourages leadership, gratitude and respect through a simple act of remembering,” honorary Col. Karen Baker-MacGrotty of the Royal Westminster regiment said.
A group of students read aloud a Commitment to Remember to the group of parents, teachers and military members:
COMMITMENT TO REMEMBER
They were young, as we are young
They served, giving freely of themselves
To them, we pledge, amid the winds of time,
To carry their torch and never forget.
We will remember them
The sight of dozens of Grade 3 to 5 children scattered among the aging stones, was moving for Baker-MacGrotty who also attended Richard McBride elementary as a child.
She hopes more schools will embrace the No Stone Left Alone program. In 2017, more than 8,000 students across the country visited 101 cemeteries to honour 50,000 veterans.
“It will raise your awareness of the sacrifices our Canadian military have made over time and the sacrifices they continue to make today. We must never forget,” Baker-MacGrotty said.
Globalnews.ca will have full coverage on Nov. 11 for Remembrance Day services.