York’s 2023 Remembrance Day ceremonies

(Courtesy of York University)

On Nov. 10, York hosted two Remembrance Day ceremonies, one at the Keele campus and another at the Glendon campus, inviting students, staff, and faculty to attend.

“Remembrance Day honours the men and women who were killed during the two world wars and other conflicts. Previously known as Armistice Day, it was renamed Remembrance Day after the Second World War,” says York. 

The Keele campus ceremony was held at the Harry W. Arthurs Common’s flagpole, in front of Vari Hall. Glendon’s ceremony took place at the flagpole located in the West Quad. Both ceremonies began at 10:30 a.m.

The Royal Canadian Legion states that from the last Friday in October to Nov. 11, millions of Canadians wear a poppy as a visual pledge to never forget those who served and sacrificed. The poppy also raises funds to support veterans and their families in need. 

Keele’s ceremony began with the singing of “O Canada” and the call of the pipes, led by Craig McDonald and the Toronto Major Pipe Band. The Master of Ceremonies and Vice-Provost of Students, Nona Robinson, welcomed the attendees and made a land acknowledgment.

Robinson spoke about the importance of remembering amid the ongoing conflicts around the world: “Remembrance Day is a time to honour people who have lost their lives defending freedom. As wars and strife continue around the world, I hope we can all come together in community with our hope for peace.”

“Well-being resources and supports are available to all members of the York community, and I encourage everyone to take good care of yourselves and each other,” says Robinson. 

Following the opening remarks were readings of various poems, all centered around the theme of remembering. The sonnet “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee Jr. was read. Magge Jr. was a fighter pilot for the Canadian Air Force during World War II. 

Additionally,  “The Last Post” was performed, which the Canadian Legion says signifies the “calling home of the spirits of the Fallen to rest.” 

(Courtesy of York University)

At 11 a.m., there was a two-minute moment of silence, done to observe, remember, honour, and give thanks to all those who fell.  After the moment of silence, “The Piper’s Lament” was performed, symbolizing the sounds of the spouses and children crying over their dead. 

This was followed by the “Rouse”. Originally, the “Rouse” intended to wake soldiers — the Legion describes the rouse as representing an awakening of the fallen, signaling that they can rest in peace. 

The event concluded with a performance of “Flanders Fields” by John McCree and the laying of several reefs on behalf of the Canadian Forces, Military veterans, Indigenous warriors, and York students, staff, faculty, alumni, and retirees. 

On Nov. 11, ceremonies occurred across the country. Notably, a national ceremony organized by the Royal Canadian Legion was held at Canada’s War Memorial in Ottawa, with Prime Minister Trudeau, Governor General Mary Simon, veterans, and senior politicians in attendance. 

As reported by CBC News, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, often regarded as Canada’s “Forgotten War,” even though 26,000 Canadians served in the conflict. 

Every Remembrance Day, Canadians commemorate the sacrifices of those who have served and continue to serve the country.

The Canadian government says the day is a time to pause and reflect in a moment of silence for all those who defended our country: “During times of war, conflict, and peace. We remember the more than 2,300,000 Canadians who have served throughout our nation’s history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

About the Author

By David Clarke

Former Editor

David is in his fourth year, studying English at York University. He has a keen interest in filmmaking, writing, literature, video-editing, and ideas. When he isn’t working on his next project or studying, you can catch him watching film-noirs on Turner Classic Movies.


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