While recognizing the reality of war, it was the pursuit of peace that was the focus of Parrsboro Regional Elementary School's annual Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 6.
Although the student population was visibly diminished as a flu bug sweeps the county, the message of peace was heard loud and clear from the students, as each class read messages of peace and placed them with large paper poppies at the front of the gymnasium.
Special guests at the event included representatives from the local Royal Canadian Legion Branch, RCMP and town councillor Lois Smith.
"Every year on Remembrance Day, it's a time for us to think about how we have to try hard to be peaceful people in our communities, and to be peacemakers in the world," vice-principal Norma Collinson told the gathered students. "It's a huge job but we can do it in little tiny steps and in our hearts. If we can do that, we can make our world a more peaceful place."
She asked the students to think of those who have lost their lives fighting for freedom and for laws that make countries free and peaceful, and to live peaceful lives by respecting themselves and others, their environment and learning, to use good manners and to be kind to people.
Wars are caused by those who cannot solve their problems by talking to each other, according to Collinson.
"When we talk about being peaceful, we talk about our problems and agree on what has to happen," she said. "Even though we might not like what the other person did, we have to try and understand them and respect them, and solve our problems with words, not angry actions."
The ceremony included poetry readings by the Grade One and Grade Six classes, a choir school performance of "The Strangest Dream, playing of the Last Post and Reveille, as well as a minute of silence and the veteran's prayer spoken by legion member Hugh Clarke. A minute of silence was also held in honour of the late Doug Robinson, who had often participated in the school ceremony in the past.
The high number of absentees - one class was represented by only four students - was rare but expected, as the H1N1 flu continues to make its presence known across the country. Collinson said she has never seen so many students absent at one time.