'Ghosts of War' remembered in ceremony at Ottawa highschool
Remembrance Day ceremonies were held in schools across this country today as well. At Sir Robert Borden high school in Ottawa's west end, a field of poppies bloomed as students remembered the ghosts of war.
For most young people, Remembrance Day is about ceremony, sadness and silent reflection.
But for one young Afghan student at Sir Robert Borden, this day resonates much more deeply than that.
On the lawn out front of the school, students planted a temporary field of poppies.
“To me, these poppies mean love and bravery,” said one student.
“To me, these poppies mean remembering your loved ones,” added another.
Inside the school, students had constructed a twenty-four foot trench, honoring what they were calling the ghosts of war. On the inside of the trench, were dozens of photos of soldiers. On the outside, were questions students would have asked of them.
“What I’d like to ask a ghost of war,” said Grade 12 student Christine Abolos, “is, what did it feel like when you died?”
“What I would like to ask a ghost of war is what are their worst memories?” added Grade 12 student Sabrina Barkhouse.
One survivor of war, on the heels of three tours in Afghanistan, was sharing his experience with the students. Major Cory Moore told them about being shot at, about the sound of a bomb going off and the memories of friends lost during the course of battle.
“I am a husband, a father and veteran of Afghanistan who lived to tell about it,” he said, then asked, “Do we have anyone in this school who is from Afghanistan?”
In the crowd, one lone hand shot up. 16-year-old Behishta Farah fled Kabul with her family 10 years ago.
“Remembrance Day for me is a reminder of the significant change and improvements the Canadian troops have made in Afghanistan,” she said, “how they had such an impact on the overall equality of women and helped to make such great improvements towards a better society and country.”
Grade 11 student Katherine Fouzie joined three other students on stage to sing a soulful rendition of “In Flanders Fields.”
“All of us singing together, it's a time to reflect when we're standing up there,” she said.
Fellow singer Helen Patriarche added, “you really envision what's happening in the song, you think about the soldiers and the poppies actually blowing between the graves.”
It evoked powerful images, too, for Behishta Farah. Her ghosts of war have given her the freedom she now enjoys.
“Everyone who lost their lives there, their actions are not forgotten,” she said.