The Brock University Remembrance Day Service began with an Aboriginal drumming performance at 10:45 a.m., as last minute attendees made their way into the Walker Complex Ian Beddis Gymnasium. With Ecumenical Chaplain Dr. David Galston as master of ceremonies, the ceremony lasted just under an hour.
After some opening words, Galston invited community bugler Peter Kellett to perform “The Last Post”, followed by “The Flowers of the Forest”, performed on bagpipes by Mitchell McDowell.
The first musical portion was followed by a moment of silence.
To conclude the moment of silence, Galston read a call and response, saying, “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them”, to which attendees responded, “We shall remember them”.
Again Peter Kellett came forward and this time performed “Reveille”, a traditional military morning bugle call.
After “Reveille”, Brock University student Leanne Vida took the podium to lead attendees in singing our national anthem.
During the second portion of the service, readings from the Jewish, Christian and Islamic scriptures were read by Brock community members, followed by a second song on the bagpipes, “Amazing Grace”.
Next, three members of the Brock community offered their reflections for the service, beginning with Sean Hoogterp, representing Brock Aboriginal Student Services. Hoogterp told stories of his uncle, who suffered through both residential schools in Canada and action in WW1.
“One time I asked him, I said, ‘Uncle, why would you fight for a nation that would put you through residential school?’ and he said he was fighting for North America and he was fighting for Ojibwes so that we could be free.”
After Hoogterp finished, Brock University Students Union President Cooper Millard reflected on how difficult it has become for the youngest generation to understand the cost of wars nearly a century past.
“If you do see anyone in the hallways today not wearing a poppy, ask them if they are aware of what today means and what today is,” said Millard. “I encourage you to […] support not just those in service today but to remember those who served in the past and were not fortunate enough to come back.”
The reflections concluded with Brock University President Jack Lightstone, who commented on the staggering loss of life during a single battle in WW1, as well as how preventable that war might have been, had diplomacy and other options not failed.
“Whether war is avoidable, or whether war is unavoidable, the sacrifices of those who go to war are the same. It is that that we remember today.”
After the reflections, Brock community member Matthew St. Louis read “In Flanders Fields”.
Just prior to the closing of the service, Christian Reformed Campus Minister Andre Basson led the Placing of Wreaths, inviting numerous Brock community members to adorn the memorial with wreaths.
The service closed with another performance of Aboriginal drumming by Phillip Davis.
The ceremony was organized by the Ecumenical Chaplaincy of the Brock Faith and Life Centre.