This week Canadian Forces members in some of the darkest regions of the planet will be receiving brightly coloured postcards from Trafalgar Middle School students.
“We wanted to give Canadian Forces around the world a taste of home and a nice greeting from Nelson,” says Grade 8 student Josie Day. “We told them how things are going around here.”
The project was headed up by the Trafalgar Grade 8 leadership group, under the guidance of teacher Kathy Speirs. The 10 students who make up the group do several projects during the term and the Remembrance Day postcard initiative is just one of them.
Last month the leadership students asked their peers to draw a colourful image on a postcard-sized card and write a little message on the back. The cards have since been sent to troops in locations like Sierra Leone, Congo, Afghanistan, Sudan, Italy and the HMCS Vancouver.
“Imagine if they are out all day and then when they get back they have this colourful postcard sitting on their bed,” says Abby Mandel, one of the leadership group members.
“It’s probably really nice to feel that ‘people actually remember me.’”
Most of the cards had a very Nelson feel to them with landscapes drawn to fit the beauty of our area.
“It might mean a bit more if it was from family, but it’s still coming from Canada,” says leadership student Tucker Anderson.
Though the students were delivering positive messages and were not supposed to dwell on the horrible aspects of war and dangers of peacekeeping, the project did bring the group — mostly comprised of 13-year-olds — closer to the reality of what troops endure.
“It kind of makes me sick to my stomach to see what is happening in some of the countries,” says leadership student Caitlynn Murphy. “My older brother says he wants to into the army. He’s an air cadet. I pay attention to it and watch it on TV when Canadian troops get killed and their family’s reaction to it.”
Though schools around the region have been focusing on Remembrance Day activities in the last week, the students say it’s not something that is constantly on the minds of peers in their age group.
“Most kids don’t really think about it,” says Mandel.
“But it’s a way to bring peace to other places around the world.”
The students hope to see many of their classmates at Nelson’s Remembrance Day ceremony on Friday where they will gather with people of all ages to mark past sacrifice and current commitment to trying to make the world safer.
“I’ve gone every year, but I think this year it will be more touching,” says Murphy.