Birchwood students honour RCMP, veterans during ceremony

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on June 16, 2014

Grade 7 student Rosie MacQuarrie had mixed emotions about taking part in a ceremony Monday that honoured veterans and the three fallen Moncton RCMP officers.

“I feel very grateful that I could participate,” she said, but added she was sad for the RCMP officers recently killed.

MacQuarrie said it made her feel safe to know they gave up their lives to protect others.

Monday’s Charlottetown ceremony was part of Birchwood Intermediate School’s Operation Gratitude, which helped students give back to the community by doing good deeds for others.

Fifty-seven of the school’s Grade 7 students trailed a bagpiper, a cadet in full uniform and classmates carrying flags as they walked several blocks from Birchwood Intermediate to the cenotaph outside Province House.

Once there, they fanned out around the monument where six RCMP officers in red serge and two Charlottetown police officers in dress uniform stood at attention.

The ceremony lasted about 15 minutes and saw students place plaques and wreaths at the cenotaph’s base to honour veterans.

Three of the students took turns walking up to the cenotaph, alongside an RCMP officer, as they laid a rose for each of the Mounties who were shot and killed in Moncton.

Cole Jarvis was one of the other students involved in the ceremony and said it was part of the students’ efforts to step up in the community.

“I think it’s truly amazing,” he said.

Even though the RCMP shootings were in another province, Jarvis said they showed how much people in the Maritimes came together to do what they could to help.

“It shows how much we care about each other,” he said.

For Birchwood Intermediate teacher Melanie Myers, she said walking up the street and seeing the police officers standing near the cenotaph gave her goose bumps.

“It was just an incredible sight that they would recognize that we wanted to say thank you.”

The students started Operation Gratitude in October when they held a candlelight vigil at Whisperwood Villa nursing home.

The language arts class has a unit called “step up” and the students came up with the idea of doing different things for the community.

Since then the class grew plants throughout the year, including geraniums they left at the cenotaph as part of their tribute to veterans and the fallen RCMP officers.

A school staff member also took some to veterans’ grave sights.

Myers said even though the ceremony was the last part of Operation Gratitude for this year, she hopes the students will continue to stop and recognize people who make a difference in their lives.

“It seems that they really came out of their comfort zone that way.”

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

CHARLOTTETEOWN POLICE MEMORIAL

Published on 16 June 2014

Students from Birchwood Intermediate School shake hands with police officers to thank them for the dangerous work they do to help keep communities safe. Members of the RCMP and Charlottetown Police Services received the thanks during the service that was planned and carried out by some of the school's Grade 7 students. Roses were also laid at the cenotaph in honour of the three officers.

Photos by Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

CHARLOTTETOWN POLICE MEMORIAL

Published on 16 June 2014

Rosie MacQuarrie of Birchwood Intermediate School lays a rose in memory of the three RCMP officers murdered in Moncton earlier this month.

Photos by Guardian photo by Bo Ford

CHARLOTTETOWN POLICE MEMORIAL

Published on 16 June 2014

Piper Sarra Wood plays a lament during a service Monday at the cenotaph in Chaarlottetown held to honour the three RCMP officers killed in Moncton earlier this month. The service was planned and hosted by some students of Grade 7 at Birchwood Intermediate School. Wood plays in the Belfast Pipe and Drum Band. 

Photos by Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

CHARLOTTETOWN POLICE MEMORIAL

Published on 16 June 2014

Sue Betts, a teacher at Birchwood Intermediate School lays a rose in memory of the three RCMP officers murdered in Moncton earlier this month.

Photos by Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

CHARLOTTETOWN POLICE MEMORIAL

Published on 16 June 2014

Members of the RCMP and Charlottetown Police Services attended a memorial service at the cenotaph in Charlottetown Monday to honour the three RCMP officers killed in Moncton earlier this month. The service was planned and held by some students of Grade 7 at Birchwood Intermediate School.

Photos by Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

CHARLOTTETEOWN POLICE MEMORIAL

Published on 16 June 2014

Bailey Seely of Birchwood Intermediate School lays a rose in memory of the three RCMP officers murdered in Moncton earlier this month. Some students from the school went to the Cenotaph in Charlottetown to lay roses at the cenotaph and to thank poice officers for the dangerous job that they do.

Photos by Guardian photo by Brian McInnis