A Day to Remember on Macdonald Campus
by Dan Mullins
The oak trees around Memorial Field on Macdonald Campus in Ste. Anne de Bellevue were planted after World War I to memorialize the students who had left their studies to serve their country and who never returned. On a cold, windy and wet Thursday in November, a crowd gathered to remember their sacrifice and that of countless other fallen Canadian soldiers and to honour veterans.
Students from Macdonald High School, Edgewater Elementary, Dorset Elementary, St-Patrick’s Elementary, Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary, and Birchwood Elementary marched behind a piper past the oaks of Memorial Field and a Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle to participate in this year’s Remembrance Day events.
The snow-covered field was ringed by students and staff of the LBPSB schools, McGill University and John Abbott College, along with other onlookers, as the snow turned to sleet and proceedings began. Many notable guests rose to deliver their tribute, including the Honourable J. Michel Doyon, Lt. Governor of Quebec, retired Master Warrant Officer Rick Carmel of the Black Watch.
Mac was well represented, as teacher and veteran Ted Duckworth and Principal Dion Joseph spoke, and student Emilie Mitchell also rose to recite a poem entitled “What Lest We Forget Stands For” which was written by Mac’s 2022-2023 co-valedictorian Michelle Clahane.
Movingly, 98-year-old Joe Maxwell, a WWII veteran, rose to read “The Act of Remembrance” by Laurance Binyon. Members of the Macdonald High School band played “O Canada” as members of the military saluted.
Two minutes of silence were observed before guests and students proceeded to the permanent War Memorial, where the Lt. Governor laid a wreath.
Ted Duckworth, who served with the Royal Canadian Hussars during the Bosnian deployment from 1999 to 2000 was responsible for coordinating with the other schools and the military and ensuring that the event ran smoothly, and for organizing the event’s Macdonald High School contingent.
Ashley Csenar, Warrant Officer of the supplementary reserve, formerly of 34 Combat Engineer Regiment, currently works at Place Cartier Adult Centre and worked at Mac High last year. She was attending with her husband Chief Warrant Officer Mike Golden of 34 Brigade and their sons.
“It’s nice that we can still take an opportunity to reflect on the past,” said CWO Golden. “Even though the two world wars were a long time ago, there are still a lot of conflicts going on today and this is a chance to pause and think about all the ones who serve and are providing safety for us. It’s a good time to just take a minute, relax and enjoy what we have today.”