“The future is in good hands”: Calgary students lay poppies in honor of fallen soldiers – Calgary

Each year, crosses are erected in a park along Memorial Drive to honor individually the thousands of southern Albertans who have made the ultimate sacrifice: to defend freedom. This year, volunteers installed 3,620 crosses during Saturday’s snowfall.

For the past 13 years, students at Delta West Academy have placed silk poppies on the crosses that each bear the name, age at death, rank, regiment and date of death of a soldier in the southern Alberta who died while serving in war or peacekeeping.

70c8fc80For students like Makena Dennis, walking through the Field of Crosses gave him the opportunity to reflect on the ages of some of the soldiers they honored.

“I am grateful to all of the soldiers who risked their lives to protect us and our country,” said the seventh-grader at Delta West Academy. « But I also feel sad because a lot of them are only 16. I’ve also seen a few 15-year-olds here and some 62-year-olds. »

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The director of admissions at Delta West Academy said it’s important for students to remember the legacy of what soldiers have done in the past and what peacekeepers continue to do.

“To know what happened in the past and to prevent future atrocities from happening, but also for them to be aware and to recognize that the freedoms we have today are due to what soldiers did,” said Amanda Dennis of Delta West Academy.

Kent Griffiths is a veteran who served four decades with the Calgary Highlanders, including six months in Egypt as a peacekeeper. He is now a volunteer at Champ des Croix.

« It’s exciting for me to see this because young people are actually involved in the Canadian past, » Griffiths said. « They accept the sacrifices that our service members have made, not just getting to know them, but getting physically involved. »

This year, as the war continues in Ukraine, young people and veterans pause to think of the soldiers who served there.

“I appreciate what Canada is doing regarding refugees and supporting Ukrainians in their war effort. I wish there was no war. Every soldier wishes for this, but it seems to happen over and over again,” Griffiths said.

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Seeing the students at the Field of Crosses, Griffiths remains optimistic. He said progress towards peace can happen through changing the attitude of young people.

« Being accepted is the first part of loving others and getting along, » he said.

“This latest generation is the most accepting. The future is in good hands with them because they will do the right thing.

It’s frustrating for some seniors to see the change, but there are good changes to come.

The Sunrise and Sunset Ceremonies at the Field of Crosses begin on November 1.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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