Canada's battlefields leave lasting impression

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
On March 9, a group of Orchard Park students journeyed to Europe. The group started in Paris and ended up in Amsterdam, following the trail of Canadian soldiers.

The mission was to travel through Canada's battlefields: to walk along the remains of trenches on the beaches of Normandy, to view the shell craters, to see the stage of Operation Jubilee in Dieppe, to visit the site where Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae composed In Flanders Field and to imagine the conditions our Canadian soldiers experienced.

The Canadian war cemeteries and the many monuments honoring our Canadian ancestors left the group speechless. According to Kailynn Hopley, "I will always remember all the battlefields and the rows of headstones - it's one thing to learn about them. It's another to actually be there with history coming to life."

Parent, Linda Davis cherishes the Canadians who gave their lives for our freedoms.

"I never realized the extent of Canadian involvement in the war in Europe. When I saw the white headstones of soldiers - some younger than my own children, it really hit home."

Participant, Omar Kadhum was impressed by the different lifestyles in Europe, "Everything is different compared to Canada. It was interesting to learn by being among the Europeans and to witness culture in everyday life."

Alex Djukic, this year's Stoney Creek Junior Citizen of the Year and a two-time Europe trip participant, especially enjoyed visiting Belgium and the Netherlands and strongly recommends other students visit both countries,

"There was so much to do and so much culture to take in. When you go to other countries, you must keep an open mind in order to appreciate the vast cultural differences. "

After the trip, Ms. Morettin, head of Modern Languages, addressed the school over the P.A. system reminiscing on this year's trip.

"Often when one travels, one reflects often... and this trip became a never-ending reflection on gratitude and pride. I am grateful that we had the opportunity to bring history to life by retracing the steps of the soldiers in Dieppe, Juno Beach and Vimy Ridge. I am grateful that this school celebrates our freedom and honours the contributions of the soldiers every year via incredibly moving Remembrance Day assemblies.

"After touring the Canadian Battlefields in Europe, you cannot help but appreciate the blessings of our lives over here in Canada and especially at Orchard Park. We have incredible staff who provide Orchard Park students with the tools to be world travelers and citizens of the world and we also have students at this school who make the world a better place.

Ms. Morettin added that she is grateful she could bring the language classroom to life by having students communicate in French in Europe.

For everyone who participated, the trip provided experiences and memories that will not be forgotten. The D-Day beaches of Normandy, Dieppe and Vimy Ridge, as well as Flanders Fields and Anne Frank's house have a more profound meaning as a result of this trip.

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