Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
November 19, 2001
St. Joe's remembers school's war dead
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Why does St. Joseph High School make such a big deal about Remembrance Day?
Teacher Jim Mazurek was asked that question by a student recently and shared the answer with those attending the school's Remembrance Day ceremonies Nov. 9 at St. Joe's courtyard.
"Because 575 St. Joe's students served in the Canadian Armed Forces (during the Second World War) between 1939 and 1945," he said.
"That's a considerable number considering that only about 200 students (per year) attended the school at that time."
Forty-eight of those who served did not return and their names are engraved on the black marbled Remembrance Day monument in the middle of the indoor courtyard.
"They were sons, grandsons, brothers and cousins. They were young men who had hopes and dreams and yet they chose to respond to the call of duty in World War II."
Spiritan Father Michael Troy, the school chaplain, read the names of those killed in action. The list reads like a class list: Harry Bedard, Walter Begoray, Robert Bradshaw, Edward Devaney, John Heffernan, Russell Majeau, Dan Marriott, . . . many of the best scholars and athletes of the school.
"We remember these young men in our celebration today," Mazurek said. "We acknowledge the debt we owe to these young men who served with pride and their families who suffered the consequences of their actions."
The Kingsway Legion, Knights of Columbus and pipers from the Edmonton Police Service joined in the celebration. The minute of silence was also extended to include the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.
Eleven dignitaries laid wreaths in honour of the war dead in front of the memorial, including Jim Devaney on behalf of the families of the dead and Ray Pierzchajlo, a former teacher and Second World War veteran, on behalf of the alumni of St. Joseph's.
Initiated by Troy and former teacher Hank Meronyk, the ceremony at St. Joseph's began more than 30 years ago. This is the third year it has been held indoors.
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