Observed in Commonwealth countries on November 11 as the anniversary of the end of World War I, Remembrance Day recognizes veterans and those who died during the World Wars. This year’s ceremony continued a long tradition of Remembrance Day services at U of T and took place at Soldiers’ Tower.
Major the Reverend Richard Ruggle provided opening remarks on the “ultimate sacrifice” that some U of T community members made when they went to war. “We commit ourselves to work for reconciliation between the nations so that people may live together in peace,” he said.
Interspersed between hymns and a reading of the iconic Canadian poem “In Flanders Fields,” individuals from the Campus Chaplains Association offered prayers and reflections. Imam Omar Patel honoured the sacrifices of those in uniform and prayed for the safety of those in contemporary conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. Rabbi Jonathan Jaffit spoke about the need for lasting peace, quoting a passage from the book of Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
U of T community members including U of T President Meric Gertler and Professor Susan Wagner of the U of T Faculty Association, government officials such as Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and those with personal connections to soldiers affiliated with U of T who have passed away presented wreaths in honour of the service members. University of Toronto Students’ Union President Elizabeth Shechtman and Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students Vice-President Jennifer Coggon represented students in the ceremonies and left wreaths under Soldiers’ Tower. Various student groups, fraternities, and sororities left wreaths as well.
A lone trumpet call by a member of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, followed by a moment of silence and singing of “God Save the King” and “O Canada,” marked the climax of the ceremony, which came to an end at noon.