PEI

Island students honour veterans with No Stone Left Alone ceremony

On a blustery fall Friday, students from Eliot River Elementary School gathered at Sherwood Cemetery in Charlottetown to remember those who have served Canada.

'This is a personal thing between a student and a deceased veteran'

Grade 4 students Lucy MacArthur and Austin Dunn of Eliot River Elementary School in Cornwall, place a poppy by the headstone of a veteran at Sherwood Cemetery in Charlottetown. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

On a blustery fall Friday, students from Eliot River Elementary School gathered at Sherwood Cemetery in Charlottetown to remember those who have served Canada.

During the No Stone Left Alone ceremony, students heard and met military veterans and officers and participated in a presentation of wreaths along with a moment of silence for the fallen.

"If it weren't for them to like sacrifice or going to war, we wouldn't have this place to call home," said student Jace Larter.

"These people fought for the war and for our freedom," said student Marshall Campbell. "If it weren't for them we wouldn't have never gotten peace."

The annual event educates students about the importance of recognizing the service and sacrifice of Canada's military.

Pay their respects

Last year, more than 9,000 students visited 105 cemeteries and honoured nearly 60,000 veterans across the country.

Grade 4 student Jessie Stewart, centre, along with two of her classmates from Eliot River Elementary place poppies next to a veteran's headstone. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"This is a personal thing between a student and a deceased veteran as opposed to staying on the same street watching a parade and watching someone else lay a wreath," said Eric Goodwin, organizer and retired brigadier-general. "These kids get a chance to find veterans' graves, learn about them and pay their respects." 

Students were invited to find a headstone, place a poppy at it, then take a moment to think of the sacrifice of the soldier whose name they read on it.

They said they've learned a lot from this experience.

No one is forgotten

"It felt really nice because we were doing something nice to those people that fought for us," Brandon Blanchard said.

"I knew that it was real and I felt bad for them when some of them died," said Jessie Stewart.

The annual No Stone Left Alone event educates students about the importance of recognizing the service and sacrifice of Canada's military. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Organizers hope each student will spend some time reflecting on their visit when they return to their classroom.

"Some of them, when they come through it's amazing, because they actually have family members that are buried here," Chief Warrant Officer Bill Crabb said. "Some will shed a tear, some, you know, they just do that minute of silence sort of thing and I do think it has some meaning to them, I really do."

Students Jacob Wright and Marshall Campbell stand in silence to honour a soldier. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

There will be two more No Stone Left Alone ceremonies next week.

Students from École François-Buote will attend a service Monday at 9:30 a.m. at Sherwood Cemetery.

These students are among the more than 9,000 who will visit 105 cemeteries and honour nearly 60,000 veterans as part of No Stone Left Alone ceremonies across Canada. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., students from Elm Street Elementary School will take part in a ceremony at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Summerside. 

A growing movement in P.E.I. to ensure no one is forgotten.

A lone poppy is placed next to the headstone of a fallen soldier in Sherwood Cemetery. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"We've got a lot of students come to these events who've never been in a cemetery before," Goodwin said. "A lot of them are new Canadians. We had some one year that didn't even speak English. So, it's a real, real eye-opener for them and it's something that as long as the students want to come and do it — and the teachers want to bring them — we'll do what we can to help them."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Steepe

Video Journalist

Tom Steepe is an award-winning video journalist with CBC P.E.I.

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