Twelve students traveled to Ottawa on November 9th. Over five days they visited and participated in a variety of educational activities. Parliament, including the Library of Parliament and the Peace Tower were toured. The students received a private tour of the Senate, in which some educational perspective of that institution was gained, adding to their understanding of how our government functions and the important role senators play. The private tour also allowed for students to visit Prime Minister John A. Macdonald's office, which is not open to the public at this time of year. The historic Rideau Canal and the locks were visited, as well as the ByWard Market, Ottawa's original consumer district. The group was granted the opportunity to take in a taping of the CBC television show "Power & Politics", allowing students to see and learn how Canada's capital and political environment is covered and produced. The students enjoyed having their picture taken in the host's chair. One even kicked back and put her shoes on the desk, not knowing that the control room was watching!
These visits and activities were only one part of the trip. The main focus of the trip was for students to do their civic duty by taking Star City to Ottawa to commemorate the sacrifices of Star City's best. This trip of Remembrance had students take part in Operation Veteran educational opportunities on the morning of the 11th, prior to attending the National Remembrance Ceremony. During the Operation Veteran session students learned of the service, sacrifices, and stories from Vimy Ridge, the Halifax explosion, Dieppe and Afghanistan. The students listened to powerful words of Remembrance from Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan, and members of Canada's Armed Forces, including a general! Students even heard the story of a tank trooper who served at and survived the Raid on Dieppe, as well as the Italian Campaign. They learned from this trooper how he survived because of the shoes he was to wear at his wedding protected him from shrapnel that would have hit him in the head had those shoes not been hanging beside him in his tank.
Following the early morning session, students took in the National Remembrance Day Ceremony, which was the primary intention of the trip. This ceremony is held at the National War Memorial, where we concluded our journey on the Monday by reading Star City's honour roll, taking the names from Star City to our national memorial in a way to pay tribute to these men who remain unforgotten. It was a symbolic act to bring these men to Ottawa in a great showing of respect and gratitude. After the ceremony we attended a lunch provided by Operation Veteran at the National War Museum. Operation Veteran is a first class organization. The students then took in the War Museum to conclude this day of Remembrance.
The mission of Operation Veteran is to provide a meal for every Canadian veteran who visits the War Museum. Over twelve thousand meals have been provided to date. The organization also operates a program called Supply Line. This program offers a trunk full of Canadian battlefield items to help students across Canada learn about Canada's history and the service of so many Canadians. You can check out Operation Veteran at http://www.warmuseum.ca/support/operation-veteran/#tabs Operation Veteran also made a donation of books to our school library. We want to sincerely thank Dr. Paul Kavanagh and Operation Veteran for hosting us in Ottawa, as well as the donation of books to our school library. We may see him in February when he travels to the province.
The twelve students had a successful trip to Ottawa. They had fun traveling and spending time together, they learned about their country and they paid their respects to those who sacrificed everything for Canada. We want to thank everyone for supporting their fundraising efforts to make the trip a possibility. The group will be putting together a presentation to share their experience with the supporters and the greater community. An evening in January will be selected when this is shared. Look for an announcement on this in the new year and everyone is invited to attend.