By David F. Rooney
Students at Revelstoke Secondary School paid their respects to Canada’s war dead Tuesday in a dignified and deeply respectful manner and heard first-hand from two Revelstokians in the military Tuesday.
RSS grad Chris McKnight, now an able seaman and talented cook in the Canadian Navy, talked about the fundamental importance that the annual ceremony has in this country.
“We do this because we understand the price of something and its value,” he said, telling them that the price of freedom is always dear.
McKnight encouraged the students to wear poppies and to talk to veterans when they see them wearing their medals.
“They gave up their youth for us,” he said. “Many gave their lives.”
Another speaker with a Revelstoke connection was Lieut.-Col. John Congdon, whose daughter Jennie now attends RSS. He has been in the military since graduation. He attended Royal MIlitary College in Kingston and served with the army in Germany and, later, in Bosnia as one of Canada’s peacekeepers.
“We don’t gather to celebrate war,” he said. “War is an ugly thing.”
But Canadians gather to celebrate the sacrifices of their men and women during wartime and on dangerous peacekeeping missions like Bosnia.
He recalled a Croatian colonel who asked him what he had accomplished in Bosnia.
“The question rocked me back,” he said. “I had to think about it. Collectively we kept them (the Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian combatants in that multi-sided conflict) from going back to war.”