Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 15, 2004
St. Joseph's High remembers
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
John McNally was only eight years old when his hero - his older brother Andrew - was killed in the Second World War.
McNally has never passed on a Remembrance Day ceremony to honour his brother, a graduate of St. Joseph High School, who was 20 when he was killed fighting the Nazis.
"I always came out to Remembrance Day with my dad when I was a child," he said. "Andy was a paratrooper when he was killed at the Rhine Crossing."
Part of Operation Varsity, the Rhine Crossing was the biggest and most successful airborne operation in history, marking the beginning of the end for Germany.
"The ceremony here at St. Joe's is really special for us because it is put on for the grads, like my brother, who served in the war."
St. Joseph teacher Michelle MacFadyen was emcee for the Nov. 10 ceremony in the school's courtyard, attended by hundreds of veterans and family, dignitaries and Knights of Columbus members.
Students from St. Joes and neighbouring St. Catherine School filled the courtyard and lined the upper hallways looking down into the atrium.
This was the 22nd year for the Remembrance Day service with the Royal Canadian Legion (Kingsway). It also marked the first time Father Michael Troy was unable to read the roll call of St. Joseph's war dead. Troy was home with the flu.
"St. Joseph's was once a school whose hallways were filled with young men destined to become soldiers," MacFadyen said. "Between 1939 and 1945, more than 500 students served in the Second World War. They were young, dedicated and hopeful. And they were not alone.
"With each soldier went the heart of a mother, a grandmother, a father, a brother or sister."
A plaque listing the staff and students who served was on display. Next to it was a list of those who died.
"Special recognition goes to the many here today who are family members of those whose lives were lost."
The Second World War called these students and many more, from across Canada. Of the 576 St. Joseph students who fought in the war, 49 did not return. MacFadyen prayed that they all be remembered.
"I ask that you keep your thoughts and prayers for the Canadian forces who, in their peacekeeping missions today, serve in the name of freedom."
Jacqueline Perron, student council president, presented a wreath with St. Joseph principal Leo Turcotte, on behalf of the current staff and students. "This is an awesome commemoration," she said in an interview.
"I think it is good we have our students here. We are celebrating this because we honour the sacrifice of the soldiers. It is great to have the veterans here and to acknowledge that we had soldiers who went to St. Joseph's, who fought in the war and died for us."
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