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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

EDHS Leadership students paint, then place Remembrance Day rocks at cenotaph

by Sylene Argent

When the grade 11 Peer Support and Leadership students at Essex District High School learned they would not be heading down to the local cenotaph on Remembrance Day, due to COVID-19, they wanted to do something to show their appreciation for the sacrifices men and women made in the past for the freedoms they get to enjoy today.

  So, the local high school students decided to paint rocks with poppies, in addition to other symbols of significance and words of appreciation, to show recognition and gratitude to those who sacrificed so much – sometimes the ultimate sacrifice of their own life – for the freedoms enjoyed in Canada today.

  Last Thursday and Friday afternoon, the students placed their symbols of support at the base of the cenotaph in Essex Centre.

  Grade 11 Peer Support and Leadership students Bryana McCarthy, Sabrina Lumbard, and Lexi Durand spoke about the class’ gesture.

  Lumbard noted even though EDHS planned a virtual ceremony for Remembrance Day, she and her peers felt bad they would not be able to get to the cenotaph on November 11 to recognize veterans as much as they would be able to normally, and wanted a way to show their appreciation for their efforts.

  “I can’t imagine going to war,” she commented.

  Durand noted it was important for she and her peers to recognize those sacrifices made.

“We wanted to show respect,” she said

  “We wouldn’t be safe and have the free country we have without them,” McCarthy said of veterans and fallen soldiers. She also noted many of those men and women who sacrificed for Canadian freedoms during WWI and WWII were about her age. “We worry about our next test. They had to worry about our country.”

     “What you did was very thoughtful,” Essex Mayor Larry Snively said to the Leadership students who went down to the local memorial site on Friday morning to place their rocks at the cenotaph. “You, as students, really understand and respect your freedom.”

  Jobin Farms and the Dibbley Family donated the beech stones that were painted.  

  Leading up to Remembrance Day, the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) will host a vigil at the cenotaph, where volunteers will stand for one-hour shifts in silence, recognizing the sacrifices of fallen soldiers and veterans for the freedom Canadians enjoy today.

  Erroll Caza, Essex Legion President, was proud to note all the spaces for the vigil have been filled by community members who want to participate, and Snively is looking forward to his 6am shift on November 11.


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