On November 11, 2011, three LCC students and I joined over 250 students that came from coast to coast, in Ottawa for the Remembrance Day ceremony. This trip was organized by Operation Veteran, which was founded by an LCC graduate, Dr. Paul Kavanagh ’70. Operation Veteran ensures that all veterans who visit the Canadian War Museum are able to get a free meal at the cafeteria. This cause is supported by private donors and student fundraising initiatives which run throughout the year, and is an ever-expanding project.
We left for Ottawa at 6:30 am. When we arrived, all the students went to the Canada Room of the Laurier Building, where Dr. Kavanagh gave a short talk about Operation Veteran. We then went outside for the ceremony, which was amazing. Governor General David Johnston and Prime Minister Stephen Harper were there, along with a host of other government and military officials. It seemed like half the people that I saw were in uniform! There was a 21-gun salute, and bagpipes and a bugle were played. There was also a choir that sang during the laying of the wreaths at the National War Memorial. There must have been 30 groups that placed wreaths on the monument. There were also two fighter jets that flew overhead and a formation of helicopters. The speeches were especially moving because, every minute or two, a gun would go off. It was a poignant reminder of the sacrifices that we were remembering.
After the ceremony, we placed our poppies on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is part of the War Memorial. Afterwards, we made our way to the Canadian War Museum, which was a really great experience. I discovered the meaning of a couple of the medals that were won by my great-uncles. There were also some really memorable exhibits. I walked through a replica of a trench and touched a chunk of the Berlin Wall!
On the whole, this day was just such an incredible experience, and I’m so glad that I had the chance to go!—Julia Peterson ’13