By: JT Borba, Finn Bartel and Hugh Guan
Link to our presentation
This article is about our Class 6B trips to Sunnybrook K wing which included four trips to Sunnybrook, including the Remembrance Day ceremony. The K wing was built as a seniors residence for veterans of Canada’s wars. In our trips, we were encouraged to talk to different veterans from World War Two and the Korean War, and listen to their stories. This was not a program about connecting with war veterans. It was mostly learning about each other as people. We learned about their lives during The Depression and what they have done since the war. We also shared stories about ourselves so we could interact with them better. On two occasions, we brought objects that were important to us in our lives to talk about with them, which helped them better understand our personal lives.
It was nice to know that there were always nice veterans that were happy to see us. Many of them were in their 90s and we met one who is 106 years old. From the veterans we met, there were many important jobs that contributed to the war such as Richard, a commander of a destroyer, who carried out a beautiful speech on Remembrance Day. John Milsom was an Old Boy who went to UCC. His mother was the first female teacher at the Prep. He and his brother attended UCC. We learned about what they did in war and how there are so many other jobs other than firing a gun in the trenches. We were also lucky enough to meet a female bus driver named Mary and a photographer who worked directly with Prime Minister Churchill! As well, we met a woman who was working at the airport but she was a recorder. She even married during the war.
On our second visit, we got a tour of the K wing and the first place we visited was the photo area. It was one of the places where veterans could restore and make copies of any of their very old photos. During this time we were able to see the soldiers when they were young. I can’t believe that they use to have basketball and hockey sports teams in that. There were also tons and tons of materials needed for war, like water bottles or helmet we see in movies. There were also a lot of medals. We also found out that the hospital has a lot of things which would be important for the veterans, like the Physiotherapy Centre, which was machines designed for exercises. There was also a music room where veterans can go down and play some music with a special therapist. We also went to a woodworking art studio where there is a lot of projects made by the veterans, and if they change to sell it, Sunnybrook gets the money which went toward materials and the veterans get the rest. Then there was the barber shop which is pretty handy and veterans can come down for it almost anytime. There were also a lot of rooms for visitors that would be very comfortable. At last, we took a lot of photos in front of the Canadian veterans’ dedication board.
Our Remembrance Day experience involved us coming in on Sunday of the long weekend, but now that it is over it was definitely worth it as it was a pleasure to be a part of it. Our experience was separated into two parts; a private indoor ceremony for veterans and their families which we attended; and the outdoor wreath laying ceremony which was open to everyone. But the class of 6B, as well as cadets from a helicopter squadron, were able to lay the wreaths. The indoor ceremony started with an honouring for the veterans and then a singer performed. Then, other people gave their speeches about honouring and appreciating the veterans. Then, we sang a hymn together. Then, there were poems, with a few more speeches and presenting the wreaths, but as soon as that was over the indoor ceremony ended with a moment of silence as well as the British national anthem “God Save the Queen” and “O’ Canada.” We were then called upon to bring out the wreaths. All the people walked outside and this is when we started to do the “important jobs”; we brought the wreaths coming from all sorts of association and organization.
We were responsible for transitioning the wreaths out of the K wing and on to the hospital road. Then, after several minutes standing there after a delay inside, we carried on with the wreaths and marched with it until we reach the cenotaph. We walked with the soldiers from the helicopter tactical squadron. Then, we lined up, and we put the wreaths on the platform stepped down, waiting for the soldiers from the tactical squadron to salute and then we could walk off the cenotaph. At last, people gave their speeches and then, the people who were parts of the ceremony were in a photo.
An extra thanks to the teachers who came to with us, those teachers being, Mr. Ma, Ms. Ma and lastly Ms. Frank. I would like to give a big thank you to our contact at Sunnybrook, Jackie, and of course, none of this would be possible if our amazing teacher Mr. Cooper.
By: JT Borba, Finn Bartel and Hugh Guan