A Personal Remembrance
November 5, 2018

I am writing this blog immediately after returning to the office from a Remembrance Week school assembly at All Hallow’s Elementary in North River, with all the beauty and emotion of the event still reverberating in my heart. The Principal, Dr. Kevin Giles, presided over a solemn and thoughtful, yet at the same time inspirational and uplifting event.

A portrait of Corporal Jamie Brendan Murphy was unveiled in the presence of Jamie’s sister and niece, and witnessed by the entire school community, which included students, staff, parents, representatives from the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Legion, clergy and community groups.

It was especially poignant for me. Jamie was my student at Roncalli Central High School in Avondale decades ago. I recall a fun-loving little guy who I could not possibly imagine would transform into a robust young soldier just a few years later. In January 2004, Jamie was serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, in Kabul, Afghanistan to do his part to establish peace and security in that war-torn part of the globe, when he was killed in action by a suicide bomber. He was 26 years old.

I had recently arrived in Kabul when I got the news. Jamie was the first soldier from this province to lose his life during the Afghanistan War. It was a huge shock to everyone at home, and to me personally. Every time last post is played, or a toast to fallen comrades is made at an event, I say a silent prayer in his memory. Jamie played an important role in nation building and will always be a part of history. I know I will never forget him, and it gives me great comfort to know that All Hallow’s Elementary will never forget him or his sacrifice, having dedicated its playground, and now its display case of prestigious awards, in his memory.

Assemblies will be held throughout the District during this Remembrance Week. This year, 2018, is the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice which concluded the First World War. I am very proud to be the Director of a District where the levels of participation, preparation, and dedication that go into Remembrance Week observance by students, staff, and community are, I believe, unequal to anywhere else in this great country. Part of remembering is also ensuring that the efforts of those who served their country to establish and maintain peace and security are never forgotten, and that their stories are promoted at home and abroad.

We can all remember best by being peacemakers, and peacekeepers, in our own schools and communities. We can emulate what Canadian Forces soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen have done and continue to do around the world - stand up to bullies, build confidence in others, and always show respect and kindness to others, both in actions and in words.

Lest we forget.

P.S. I would encourage all schools to participate in the Royal Canadian Legion’s “Youth Remembrance Contests”. The link to the contest page can be found here.


Tony Stack
CEO/Director of Education

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St. John's, NL · A1B 1R6
Tel: (709) 758-2372 · Fax: (709) 758-2706
95 Elizabeth Avenue
St. John's, NL · Canada · A1B 1R6
Tel: (709) 758-2372 · Fax: (709) 758-2706

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