Vernon students remember fallen soldiers at No Stone Left Alone ceremony

Dennis Windsor, of the Royal Canadian Legion, speaks at the No Stone Left Alone ceremony Wednesday at Pleasant Valley Cemetery. For a video of the event visit vernonmorningstar.com. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)
Grade 10 W.L. Seaton student Abby Battersby lays a poppy on a veteran’s grave as part of the No Stone Left Alone ceremony Wednesday at Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Visit vernonmorningstar.com to see a video of the event. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)
A poppy is left on a veteran’s grave as part of the No Stone Left Alone ceremony Wednesday at Pleasant Valley Cemetery. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)

It’s a simple gesture — but to hundreds of soldiers and their families all over the world, the placing of a poppy on the headstone of a fallen comrade is a symbol of respect, and more importantly, a reminder to veterans that we will remember them.

That’s the message W.L. Seaton teacher Yvonne Fiala, hopes students will take away from the No Stone Left Alone ceremony held at Pleasant Valley Cemetery on Wednesday morning.

The ceremony, organized by Fiala and Lawrna Myers, of the Vernon and District Family History Society, saw 130 students from three local schools gather to pay their respects to fallen veterans in a brief remembrance service before placing more than 500 poppies on local military grave sites.

In the weeks leading up to the ceremony Fiala, who introduced the concept to Vernon schools last year after participating in a cemetery tour lead by Myers, said she and her colleagues at the participating schools; W.L. Seaton Secondary School, Vernon Secondary School and Beairsto Elementary School assigned Remembrance projects, including research on First World War and Second World War veterans.

“The goal is to get the students reflecting a little bit more as we get closer to Remembrance Day, and to encourage them to learn more about Canada’s rich history of service to their country,” Fiala explained.

“I find they come to realize how much sacrifice was involved with military service, and it makes it a bit more real seeing local names.”

“It gives them the feeling that these men and women are more than just a name on a list their teacher gave them,” Myers echoed.

“Especially if the name they are assigned to research is someone buried right here in Vernon, because then they are given the opportunity to lay a poppy on their gravestone. I think that really helps them connect.”

Through research initiated by the family history society several years ago, Myers said 550 military graves have been identified and marked in the Vernon cemetery. She said there will be many more to mark as the society continues with the project. Wednesday’s ceremony, she noted, was one of dozens hosted by, or on behalf of the No Stones Left Alone Memorial Foundation that took place in communities across Canada on Nov. 1.

The Edmonton-based non-profit organization, founded by Maureen G. Bianchini-Purvis in 2011, aims to honour our fallen military while educating students of the sacrifice made by Canadian veterans, by placing poppies at their headstones every November.

For VSS student Brianne Bertram, the project became something of a personal passion after the Vernon teen learned she shared the same last name as the soldier she was assigned to research.

“He was from Australia, my family is from Scotland, so we aren’t related as far as a I know, but it would be cool if we were,” she noted.

“I still thought the process of learning all this, and then being able actually place a poppy on his headstone was really impactful — to be part of something all these other people are doing for these soldiers who might not have family left to leave poppies for them — it feels like we’re really doing a good thing.”

Erin Christie

Morning Star Staff

erin.christie@vernonmorningstar.com

RELATED: Teacher, students earn provincial honour

Just Posted

Troll Grandfather bridges gap in Vernon

Spotlight Kids’ Series show comes to town Sunday

SS Freestyle seeks new home in Vernon for fall 2020

Trampoline regulations have forced freestyle club out of its current bounce house

Armstrong fair chooses 2020 theme

All things vegetable to be celebrated in 2020 with the theme Our Roots Run Deep

Drug stores team up for Vernon hospital foundation

Burger and beer fundraiser to raise cash to help women’s health

Conservative candidate Tracy Gray wins Kelowna-Lake Country

The Canadian Press declared her the winner around 8:30 p.m.

Conservative Dan Albas wins Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Supporters for candidates gather in West Kelowna to watch election results

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Kelowna council opposes ‘racist’ Quebec secularism bill

The city joins Calgary, Montreal, Victoria, Kitchener and Brampton in condemning the bill

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Sentencing date set for former West Kelowna teacher charged with child luring

Former Mount Boucherie teacher Bradley Furman will be sentenced on Dec. 16

New trial ordered for Salmon Arm optician convicted of sexually assaulting 14-year-old boy

Kenneth Pilkington was ininitally found guilty of the offense

Most Read