They shall not be forgotten

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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Newfoundland and Labrador students among huge Canadian contingent at Vimy memorial ceremony in London

Zayd Kharaishi of St. John's (left) lays a wreath on Canada Memorial monument's steps Friday in London, England, with Gordon Campbell, Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and Melissa Lacharity from Craigflower Elementary in Victoria, B.C. - Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

London, England - Some Newfoundland and Labrador students remembered Canadian sacrifices during the First and Second World Wars Friday afternoon.

More than 100 of them were among 1,000-plus Canadian youth who walked through the Canada Gate in London, England, to honour those who lost their lives in the conflicts.

It's said to be the largest number of Canadians to proceed through the impressive entrance since the Second World War.

The gate enters the Canada Memorial in Green Park, right next to Buckingham Palace.

Julia Buckley, a Level II student at St. Kevin's High School in Goulds, was glad to be part of the event and to pay tribute to the fallen.

"They built Canada and played a huge role in our history," she said.

Samantha Williams, Buckley's friend and schoolmate, was honoured to be there, too, particularly because of the role her home province played.

The ceremony was part of the Vimy Ridge 2012 National Student Remembrance Tour organized by EF Educational Tours. It included speeches, moments of silence, prayers and a wreath-laying.

Zayd Kharaishi, a Grade 9 student at Lakecrest in St. John's, was one of the students to lay a wreath on the steps of the monument.

He did so with Gordon Campbell, Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and Melissa Lacharity from Craigflower Elementary in Victoria, B.C.

Asked what he was thinking as the wreath was placed, Kharaishi said, "A sense of remembrance, a sense of honour and pride in the sacrifice made by these soldiers."

He noted he was honoured to be asked to participate in such a way.

Veteran Affairs Minister Stephen Blaney was among the dignitaries who addressed the youth. He said he was honoured by the soldiers' sacrifice, and the students' presence.

"That means so much," he said, adding the event was connecting a heroic generation of the past to the generation of today.

Blaney stressed the importance of remembering the fallen, and not forgetting why they died.

The need to do so is not lost on the students.

Liam Major, who's in Grade 8 at Lakecrest, noted many men and women put their lives at stake

"And we have to remember them and be thankful that we're here now, and protected now," he said.

Monday is the 95th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.

sbartlett@thetelegram.com Twitter: @SteveBartlett_

Organizations: First and Second World Wars, Lakecrest, Buckley's Vimy Ridge 2012 National Student Remembrance Tour EF Educational Tours

Geographic location: London, Newfoundland and Labrador, Vimy Ridge England Canada Gate Green Park Goulds St. John's United Kingdom Victoria

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  • art stevenson
    April 09, 2012 - 06:50

    I sure hope these students had ancestors who fought at Vimy.

    • Karen Davison Wood
      April 09, 2012 - 09:59

      My granddaugther Emma is there. Her great-grandfather was one of the fortunate ones to survive.