Port Coquitlam youth made sure that no stone was left alone today (Nov. 8) laying poppies at the gravesites of local veterans who either died in service or later in life, as a symbol of gratitude for what they have today.
More than 60 students grades 6 to 8, parents and staff from Hope Lutheran Christian School visited the Robinson Memorial Cemetery in Coquitlam this morning as part of its Remembrance Day recognition.
They placed poppy stickers on the headstones that bore a white cross, signifying they served in Canada's military throughout the years.
Many of them were vets of World War I and World War II, said cemetery caretaker Kerry Haynes.
School spokesperson Lisa Klym said it was imperative for the middle schoolers to understand the importance of honouring, remembering and thanking those who served Canada.
"We will remember them," the kids replied in unison after one of many readings by guest speakers in attendance.
As they walked around the site, students were encouraged to think of the soldiers who got to come home, those who died in battle and service members who were never accounted for.
A ceremony took place beforehand at the cenotaph near the Ivy Avenue entrance of the near 90-year-old cemetery at 621 Robinson St.
This included the reading of John McCrae's In Flanders Fields by students Patricia and Esther, a passage from Hope Lutheran Church's interim pastor Gregory Johnson, a salute by four current service members — two RCMP and two military officers — and the laying of a wreath.
Vice-principal Andrew Shutsa provided closing remarks at the end of the event.
No Stone Left Alone
The wreath was on behalf of the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation (NSLA) and two separate students were accompanied by officers to place it at the foot of a large cross.
This is the second straight year the non-profit partnered with Hope Lutheran Christian School to host the ceremony for the students as part of its goal in teaching and helping youth understand the meaning of remembrance.
"Our unique ceremony provides students with an authentic experience that creates knowledge, understanding and appreciation of those who served and of the sacrifice of Canada’s fallen," reads a statement on NSLA's website.
No Stone Left Alone launched in 2011 and has since hosted hundreds of poppy-laying ceremonies for youth across Canada.
According to its most recent data, more than 67,000 headstones were given a poppy in 2021 by 7,700 students from a total of 131 events in 88 communities.
This included 138 poppies in the Tri-Cities — 78 at the Port Coquitlam cemetery and 60 at Robinson Memorial in Coquitlam.
"The passion of No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation is fuelled by our opportunity to influence and educate the next generation of Canadians."
Tri-Cities Nov. 11 events
NSLA said, as Nov. 11 is a statutory holiday this Friday, its ceremonies take place during the week leading up to Remembrance Day to ensure students and schools can fully participate.
Meanwhile, the general public is being invited to attend a ceremony in their respective community.
The dates, times and locations of the events are as follows:
- Where: Como Lake Middle School (1121 King Albert Ave.)
- When: 9:30 a.m. (doors open at 9 a.m.)
- What: Non-denominational service hosted by the Coquitlam branch 263 of the Royal Canadian Legion
- Next: Parade at about 10:15 a.m. to the cenotaph at Blue Mountain Park (975 King Albert Ave.); legion branch (1025 Ridgeway Ave.) is open at noon
- Website: coquitlam.ca/remembranceday
- Where: Veterans Park (in front of Port Coquitlam City Hall, 2580 Shaughnessy St.)
- When: 10 a.m.
- What: Veterans and cadets parade Shaughnessy Street from Wilson to McAllister avenues for the service at 10:30 a.m.
- Road closures: Parts of the downtown from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Website: portcoquitlam.ca/remember
- Where: Kyle Centre (125 Kyle St.)
- When: 10 a.m.
- What: Church service hosted by the Port Moody branch 119 of the Royal Canadian Legion
- Next: Parade at about 10:30 a.m. to Clarke Street for the 10:55 a.m. service, followed by wreath laying at the Spring Street cenotaph next to the Legion branch
- Road closures: St. Johns Street for the parade, from 10:30 to 11 a.m.; Clarke, Spring, Mary and Kyle streets to be closed 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Website: legion119.ca