“By remembering one… you remember all.” During this past month of October 2014, students at Vincent Massey Secondary School have been given the opportunity to learn and understand the meaning of this phrase, coined by Canadian War Veteran Stan Scislowski.
On numerous instances Mr. Scislowski had visited Massey Secondary School in order to recount his experiences during the Italian Campaign. On one occasion, he related the story of a young 17 year old soldier from Windsor Ontario by the name of Fred Lytwyn, who, while defending Canada, was killed and buried in Italy. Out of this loss came Mr. Scislowski’s phrase, “By remembering one, you remember all”.
The realities of conflict and war are far-reaching and unspeakably tragic. How can we commemorate the sacrifice of a soldier who is buried far from home, in many cases in an unmarked grave? How can the world, within so many shared conflicts, begin to honour this common bond of past tragedies past? How can Massey Secondary School partake in acknowledging the significance of this history?
On October 20th, 2014, Massey Secondary School joined a world-wide initiative, “The World Remembers”, which honours those who have fought in the Great War. This goal of this initiative is to create an inclusive and comprehensive commemoration from both sides in nations around the world, for the first time in history. For this centennial year of the Great War, the group hopes to have all Commonwealth soldiers featured.
In the social science wing at Vincent Massey there is a display case dedicated to this initiative. In order to symbolize the immense gratitude we feel towards those who have sacrificed in the name of freedom, Massey Secondary School has committed a display case in the social science wing featuring names of every Canadian killed in the Great War. Mr. Scislowski is also highlighted, along with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s certificate for soldier Fred Lytwyn.
Furthermore, on October 28, 2014, at 11:30 am, five Massey students, along with Mr. Garlick, were in attendance at the LaSalle Cenotaph. Here they had the invaluable opportunity to witness Canada’s contribution of sand and stones, which had been brought back from Juno Beach and Dieppe, France, become part of the new memorial. The students and Mr. Garlick were able to contribute the sand and stones---a small part of France which they brought home in memory of those who did not return from the war--- from their Europe trip of March 2014. Taking place during the moments when Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was laid to rest, honouring the significance of those who stand to honour and protect was all the more meaningful.
In Massey’s dedication to honouring our past, we are commemorating and recognizing our role in the world’s history. As our history takes on a relevant meaning in the present, we can share in the common feeling of gratitude towards those who serve in the name of freedom and protecting the rights of others.