Vernon students participate in ‘No Stone Left’ Alone initative

It’s a simple gesture but to hundreds of soldiers and their families across Canada, 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.

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Despite the rain, about 75 Grade 7 students from École Beairsto Elementary and Harwood Elementary School School participated in “No Stone Left Alone” commemoration event in Vernon Thursday, Nov. 1. Following an opening ceremony, students divided up into groups and placed 400 poppies on military gravesites throughout Pleasant Valley Cemetery. This nationwide initiative seeks to educate students while also honouring and recognizing the sacrifices Canadian military men and women made while serving Canada.

The goal of the event is to educate students while honouring and recognizing the sacrifices that Canadian military men and women made while serving Canada. In November, ‘No Stone Left Alone’ ceremonies across Canada have students place the symbolic poppy on military headstones in Canadian fields of honour.

Vernon’s ceremony, organized by Lawrna Myers, of the Vernon and District Family History Society, saw students from two local schools gather to pay their respects to fallen veterans in a brief remembrance service before placing more than 400 poppies on local military grave sites at Pleasant Valley Cemetery.

“This is what 70 per cent of World War One was like, so it’s very appropriate that the weather is cold and damp today,” said Dennis Windsor of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Windsor led the Remembrance Service in an effort to remind students of the sacrifices veterans from Vernon and across Canada gave up for our freedom.

Students were accompanied by volunteers from Vernon & District Family History Society, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 – Vernon and the British Columbia Dragoons. Starting around 10 a.m. the ceremony included remembrance service and a ceremonial laying of the wreath before students sectioned off and begun laying poppies on grave sites throughout the park. First, the students read the name of the veteran from the headstone, place the poppy, step back and pause before moving to the next site.

“The placing of poppies is the Legion’s act of remembrance. While we mourn their deaths, we remember that their spirit, sacrifice and accomplishments are woven into the fabric of Canada,” said Windsor. “The actions today [laying of the poppies], define the true meaning of remembrance.”

The community response to the event has been tremendous. Many veterans and families have reached out to thank the students for participating in the event.

“Thank you so much. My grandparents are buried in the veterans section of Pleasant Valley. I’m so proud of my grandfather’s service in both the first and second world wars. Thank you for honouring their service,” wrote one woman in the comment section of the photos the Morning Star shared on Facebook.

“Thank you so much, my two Great Uncles and dad are in Veterans section,” commented another.

Though it is only the third year Vernon has participated, 2018 marked the 8th annual commemoration ceremonies for No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation.

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Related: In Remembrance

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Ruby May Kaltiainen, grade 7, participated in the event. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
This is the third year Vernon has participated in the national event. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
The ceremony is meant to provide students with an authentic experience that creates knowledge, understanding and appreciation of those who serve and of the sacrifice of Canada’s military. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
Nai’a Fellingham places a symbolic poppy on military headstones. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
The event began with a remembrance ceremony at Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Vernon. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
Students across Canada participate in this remembrance event. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)
The placing of poppies is a symbolic representation of remembrance. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

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