Stettler’s William E. Hay Composite High School opened up their doors to the community as they celebrated Remembrance Day on Friday, Nov. 9.
Dignitaries came and presented unique yet powerful stories about the wars and the importance of keeping connections strong between generations as it weakens over time.
“It’s important for our youth to take a moment to just be reflective of the history of our country and what people have gone through in order to give them the country that they live in,” said Vice Principal Diane Enyedy. “It’s a way of recognizing the sacrifices people have made in spite of the fact that most of us thankfully will never have to experience what they have gone through in history.”
Reverend Ross Helgeton gave a presentation talking about his former Junior High school teacher who served but not without repercussions.
He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and coped in the form of alcoholism.
Helgeton explained how his perception had changed once he understood the full story behind the teacher’s condition which was known at the time as ‘shell shock’.
The Reverend also carried a delicate blanket kept bundled together by a worn belt.
The government issued blanket once belonged to his grandfather, Fred Peterson, who served in World War I.
The belt was once worn by his uncle, Jim Peterson, who wore it during his time serving in World War II.
The colour party consisted of members of the Stettler Legion, current RCMP law enforcement, and other decorated members.
Each student, faculty member and guest wore a poppy as well.
“Overall we were very pleased with how it went,” said Enyedy. “It’s nice to see all of the students from the full complex – the two schools – come together in remembrance.”
The student band performed an in-depth number depicting the before, during and after aspects of the war in song which echoed throughout the gym and into nearby halls.
“They were really good this year – exceptional,” said Enyedy. “The elementary student choir always does a fantastic job but they were definitely very good this year as well and the speeches definitely made you stop and think. They were relatable and we were really pleased with how it went.”
This year marks the 100th anniversary since the end of the first world war.