More than 150 elementary school students gathered at the Regina Cemetery Monday morning to place poppies on veterans’ headstones as a small ‘thank you’ for a big sacrifice.
Looking on as the children paid their respects to some of Canada’s fallen soldiers, Pvt. Tim Hunter stood with tears in his eyes.
“It really warms my heart because, when I see that, I see that there is hope for our future,” he explained. “(The students) are learning the history of what the cost of freedom for this country really did cost.”
Hunter served as a peacekeeper in Bosnia and Croatia, among other places overseas, between 1989 to 1994. Having lost several good friends and family members to war, he noted this tribute is personal.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember what everybody’s done. These veterans here, that you see laying here, they’re the real heroes; the ones that came home are the lucky ones.”
150+ elementary school students are laying poppies on veterans’ gravestones ahead of #RemembranceDay. It’s the second year in a row Regina’s taken part in @NoStoneAlone. #NoStoneLeftAlone #YQR pic.twitter.com/Z1KKoHD7DM
— Jessie Anton (@jessieanton_) November 5, 2018
As she laid a poppy on each gravestone, Grade 7 student Eisha Thakurdeen said her heart was heavy, yet thankful.
“I was thinking of the freedom we have; other countries don’t have that, so we should be really grateful,” she said.
Those feelings were echoed by fellow Grade 7 student Abdi Ibrahim.
“We’re lucky to be able to show respect to the fallen soldiers and it was an honour to do that,” he added.
Sub-Lt. Callista Szachury has organized the No Stone Left Alone ceremony for the last two years in the city. Being both a teacher with the Regina Catholic School Division and a naval reservist with HMCS Queen, she said it’s special seeing both her passions come together.
“I’m hoping children take away today that remembrance doesn’t just have to happen on Remembrance Day,” she said. “Our freedoms and what Canada is today — we have that because of the sacrifices of the men and women that came before us.”