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A day of remembrance


Remembrance Day is a time to think back on the great sacrifi ce many made for the freedom we now have. Fanshawe will be hosting a ceremony between 10:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. in J-Gym 3.

Emily Stewart | Interrobang | News | November 9th, 2015

Wearing a poppy, attending memorial services and creating artwork are some of the many ways people take the time to thank a veteran, and remember those who participated in a war.

Local veterans have produced artwork in honour of Remembrance Day, for the exhibit “Mark Our Place”, which runs until Nov. 29 at the London Public Library Central Branch.

Veterans staying at Parkwood Institute, a London hospital run by St. Joseph’s Health Care, can participate in an art therapy program, which was founded in 1946.

There’s a floor with three different art studios for the veterans to work in, one for textiles, one for woodworking and one for clay or glass work. They also draw, paint and do other fine art activities.

Heather Derbecker, coordinator of Veteran Creative Arts and Therapeutic Services, said they will create works of art during their stay, either as gifts for their family or pieces to sell in a shop at Parkwood.

“For some of them, they consider coming down to the studio to work because they are actually earning some money from doing it,” she said, adding there is plenty of socializing in the studios.

“I’ve definitely seen people commenting about being more relaxed, commenting about not feeling like they’re in the hospital.”

Head Chaplain of Fanshawe College Francois Krueger said while he isn’t a physician, he felt art therapy programs for veterans help them express their feelings they were unable to access until after the war.

“Illnesses such as PTSD, and long-term injuries are sometimes too difficult to express verbally, and programs that find ways to allow our veterans the ability to release their memories can only be helpful, and can often serve those who do not serve.”

This Remembrance Day is marked with the 100th year anniversary of the Lieutenant John McRae poem “In Flanders Fields”. The poem was written May 1915, after his good friend Alexis Helmer died from being struck by a German shell.

Krueger added “In Flanders Fields” is a strong Canadian original.

“Its author wanted the audience of the poem to remember how costly war can be, and that so many paid the price for the freedom we now [have].”

The chaplain added that because of technology, the amount of stories and images depicting conflicts around the world “presents both the tragedy of the conflict, disagreement and the inability to resolve lives peacefully at all costs, and presents the opportunity for us to work for peaceful, and non-violent resolutions between sides.”

His father served in the Cold War for 18 years, so he said neglecting what happens during wars past and present is problematic for Canada because it is disrespectful for those who were part of them.

Krueger said the best way to honour veterans every day is by striving for a life of peace.

“‘Lest we Forget’ loses its power when it’s just a phrase: paying lip service to this is hypocrisy,” he explained. “Our veterans’ lives and memories cries out to us to live out the phrase with a daily focus on caring for one another in the highest form. That is what honour does.”

Fanshawe will host their Remembrance Day ceremony between 10:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. in J gym three.

Speakers, including Fanshawe Student Union members and other members from the college, will give some readings including “In Flanders Fields”.

The service will also present a video featuring important contributions of the Canadian Armed Forces, and will also touch on First Nations’ participation in the wars. Krueger will also remind the visitors the price Veterans had to pay for our freedom, and ask the Fanshawe community to think about how war and other conflicts can be prevented.
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