Several hundred people gathered in the Marketplace Food Court today to participate in Algonquin’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony.
Honoured guest, Korean War veteran Maurice Lavoie of Legion 593, Bells Corners, graced the crowd with a reading of In Flanders Fields for the second consecutive year. Lavoie is not only the veteran who you purchased poppies from over the past few weeks, he’s also an Algonquin alumnus.
“Many years ago, I only finished sixth grade in Quebec,” said Lavoie. “I came to Algonquin College on Lees Avenue at night to finish off my education.”
Lavoie proudly wore five medals over his heart: one for his volunteer service in the Korean War, a United Nations medal, a peacekeeping medal, and a medal for his overall service in Korea.
Another familiar face at the presentation was retired general manager of food and conference services at the college, Gord Esnard. Upon his retirement in the spring of 2016, Esnard was asked by the college if he would return every year to organize and manage the Remembrance Day service.
“This is the one event I come back for,” said Esnard. “It’s been over 20 years we’ve been doing it and we do such a good job at it. When they asked me to come back and do it I said ok, I’d love to, It’s a big thing.”
Also present at the ceremony was Jason Kicknosway, a dual citizen and now veteran of the United States Marine Corps after five years of service.
“I served all over the United States, home based in Hawaii, and went all over the Middle East,” said Kicknosway.
As an Ojibway-Chippewan Aboriginal, Kicknosway laid a wreath as part of the ceremony on behalf of all Aboriginal war veterans and current service members.
“I was pretty proud and honoured to do it,” said Kicknosway.
This year marked the second time Kicknosway participated in the Algonquin ceremony as a wreath bearer. Other wreaths included one laid by Algonquin President Cheryl Jensen on behalf of all Algonquin employees, one on behalf of all students, and one on behalf of all family and friends of the college.
Master of ceremonies for the event and SA president, Egor Esteev, was accompanied on stage by two members of the Canadian Armed Forces; Major Travis Kelley, Commandment, School of Military Mapping, and Warrant Officer Ian McDonell, School of Military Mapping.
The ceremony was opened by a succession of military community members and students of the school of military mapping. Faculty members and honoured guests were led to their seats by a piper.
Performing arts student Laura Christensen-Cheffins closed out the event with the signing of the national anthem, for which she had the support of the crowd.