We have a lot of assemblies at TDChristian. Our Remembrance Day assemblies are always among the most meaningful.
This year's assembly started with Grade 12 student (and air cadet) Greg Hoornweg leading devotions and prayer. Ordinary Seaman Kang Lee, from the Canadian Naval Reserve, who's just starting his military career, spoke to us about his training and more. We also watched some videos, teacher Alice Vanderkooy led us in prayer, we stood for the moment of silence, and sang O Canada accompanied by student Megan Bagg on violin.
For many, the highlight of the assembly was the short speech given by teacher Richard Vanderkloet. Here is what he said:
"We are standing . . . as a sign of respect.
In our culture, we stand for the national anthem, as a sign of respect for our country. We stand when our graduates file out of the auditorium at graduation in June, as a sign of respect to them. We stand in my church when we receive the benediction that ends a worship service, as a sign of respect to our gracious God.
And today, on Remembrance Day, we stand as a sign of respect toward the personnel in our armed forces – those who served in the past and those who serve now; those who died in service and those still living; for Ordinary Seaman Lee and future flight officers such as (our students) Greg Hoornweg and William Peterson.
We also observe 2 minutes of silence – a pause in our busy lives when we consider others instead of ourselves. We are having our 2-minute observance early today so that we could have Ordinary Seaman Lee with us: he has 3 speaking engagements this morning.
At 11 o’clock this morning all the subway trains, all the streetcars, and all the busses of the TTC will stop in their tracks for two minutes. Traffic will be obstructed. People will be late for their appointments. And nobody will mind a bit. Because something bigger than the agendas of our own little lives is present today, and we know it. So, for two minutes, which may seem like an eternity to some of you, we willingly put out of our minds the distractions and preoccupations of our minute-by-minute lives. You may be surprised by how long two minutes is. We reflect on those who have put their lives at the service of others. It’s our recognition that losing our lives in service to others is the only sure way of finding our lives."
The quiet in the room was deafening.