Canadian customs and School traditions blended together as the Shawnigan community gathered together on Wednesday afternoon to honour those who have served, those who continue to serve, and those who died for our freedom.
The remembrance ceremony was held on Wednesday, November 15 this year rather than on November 11 because the designated Remembrance Day holiday fell during our November break, but the slight delay made the event no less dignified and reflective.
This year, we were joined for the ceremony by 93-year-old alum Hugh Fraser ’46 (Groves’), who was a student at the School during the Second World War.
Following a land acknowledgement by Alexandra N., Head of School Mr. Richard (Larry) Lamont read the iconic poem “In Flanders Fields,” and the School orchestra led “Amazing Grace.” Grade 12 students Audrey T. and Jack N. addressed the School with reflections on their own experiences as part of the spring 2023 tour of European battlefields.
“Beyond all the tangible monuments and preserved landscapes, we must acknowledge that the effects of the world wars continue to shape the essence of European society,” Audrey said. “The scars of conflict persist, not as remnants of a bygone era, but as living reminders of the lasting toll of war. Today, as we stand amid these echoes of history, we must acknowledge that the consequences of these wars reach beyond the pages of time, influencing the world we live in today.”
“Across this campus, we have countless students and staff whose families and lives have been impacted by conflict during the 20th century,” Jack said. “Though we now live in a period known as the long peace there hasn’t been a single year since the ‘war to end all wars’ ended that has seen global peace.”
Following a prayer from Rev. Jim Holland, Const. Tad Narraway of the Westshore RCMP led the colour party consisting of Emmett N. (carrying the flag of Canada), Jonty N. (UK), Grant N. (US), Oscar N. (Royal Canadian Army), Colton W. (Royal Canadian Air Force), Draysen K. (Royal Canadian Navy), Zoë B. (BC), and Gwenlili J. (Shawnigan Lake School).
Prefects Grace S. and Moose B. read the Roll of Honour – the list of 45 alumni and staff members who died in the Second World War, while the Chapel bell sounded 45 times, and Grade 8 students placed a poppy on each of the 45 white crosses on the lawn of the Quad. Student trumpeter JD P. played the “Last Post” and “Reveille” on either side of a moment of silence.
The first wreath was laid by Shawnigan’s youngest student, Max F., followed by Dr. Kiran Srai-Cheema (Civilian Medical Officer for the British Army); Alexandra N. and Leilani M. (representing the Snuneymuxw First Nation and Thunder Rugby); staff members and veterans Mrs. Heatherann Macintosh and Mr. Jamie MacMurchy; and representatives of Rugby Canda, Rowing Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion Malahat Branch, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and the Shawnigan Lake Montessori community.
The ceremony ended with the singing of “O Canada,” led by Audrey T., the departure of the colour party, and the hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save."
We will continue to honour Remembrance Day in Chapel on Saturday.
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent co-educational boarding school for ages 13 –18 on Canada’s beautiful West Coast. Our diverse, interdisciplinary and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.