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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Greenway

Youth need more education on Remembrance Day says Legion head

Edwin Laporte thinks that today’s youth are losing their connection to Remembrance Day.


The president of the Wakefield Legion says that most kids who show up to ceremonies across the Hills do so because they are told to, but may not know why it’s important.


“You go into schools nowadays, and they don't even talk about it,” says Laporte. “You ask a kid what Remembrance Day means or what a poppy is and 90 per cent of them haven't got a clue.”


He and other Legion members say they are trying to change that and are working with local schools to have a “Legion Day,” where members would come in and present on the importance of Remembrance Day and the significance of the poppy. He says he hopes to engage kids with colouring contests and other activities in future years leading up to Remembrance Day.


The poppy’s history dates back to the First World War, when western Europe had been destroyed by fighting and nothing would grow in the bleak landscape except poppies. Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, was inspired by the bright red poppies growing among the grey landscape and wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields”. The poem has become synonymous with Canadian Remembrance Day ceremonies to honour those who sacrificed their lives in war.


“It’s to recognize our fallen, definitely,” adds Laporte.


The Wakefield Legion will again host this year’s Wakefield ceremony at the village cenotaph at Parc de la Paix at the Intersection Riverside Drive and Chemin de la Vallée, which will feature wreath laying, speeches and two minutes of silence to mark the end of the First World War in November 1918. The event begins at around 10:40 a.m. and will culminate with a luncheon at the Wakefield Legion following the ceremony. Laporte is inviting the entire village to his Legion lunch. The Legion is located at 27 Ch. Legion.


“Everyone’s invited,” he says. “Whether you’re a [Legion] member or not, it’s there for the whole community.”

Hills Remembers

Every year at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month Canadians gather together to honour those who lost their lives in war, and this Nov. 11 municipalities throughout the Hills will again mark the important occasion with poignant ceremonies to remember the ones who died.


Chelsea

The Gatineau Valley Historical Society (GVHS) and the municipality of Chelsea are hosting a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Pioneer Cemetery this Nov. 11, honouring Private Richard Rowland Thompson, who received one of the rarest awards in the world: The Queen’s Scarf. The Queen’s Scarf was one of eight crocheted by Queen Victoria, awarded for bravery to men who served in the Boer War. Thompson was a trooper with the Special Services Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR), and was recommended for this honour after his daring rescue of a wounded soldier under enemy fire on the battlefield of Paardeberg in 1900. Thompson died in 1908, and, after a military funeral in Ottawa, was buried at the Pioneer Cemetery along with his wife, Bertha Alexander, and her parents. The event begins at 10:45 a.m. with a military parade that will be followed by speeches and wreath laying. The cemetery is located at 587 Hwy 105. The municipality of Cantley will join Chelsea at the Pioneer Cemetery and resident Hubert McClelland will lay a wreath during the ceremony to represent the municipality of Cantley.


Kazabazua

Residents in Kazabazua will gather at the municipal cenotaph at 10:40 a.m. at the corner of Hwy 105 and Begley Road. The ceremony will feature wreath laying and speeches from municipal representatives. In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to Queen Elizabeth School. Refreshments and snacks will be provided at a reception at the school following the ceremony.


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