Cpl. David Nespolo who teaches at St. Anselm Catholic School standards guard blocking traffic as the schools student body precessed around the block carrying a picture of a fallen solider as part of the Resemblance Day celebrations. Photo by Evan Boudreau.

Remembrance Day hits close to home

  • November 11, 2014

TORONTO - On Nov. 11 the entire student body, full roster of staff and a couple dozen community members came together at St. Anselm Catholic School to celebrate the sacrifice of soldiers, both living and deceased. That included one of their own.

“It was great that everyone was able to come together to show their patriotism and respect for all the fallen soldiers and even extra special that we had a staff member who is part of the reserves,” said school principal Richard Walo. “We are very fortunate to see Mr. Nespolo as part of it and it was great to see parents, students, the church, community members all come together to pay their respects.” 

Mr. Nespolo, as his students know him, is Cpl. David Nespolo of the Governor General’s Horse Guards. He along with a fellow reservist joined the school community for a liturgy at neighbouring St. Anselm Church.

The service ended with students carrying a photo of a fallen soldier as they exited the church in two rows followed by the soldiers. From there the crowd did a lap around the block ending back at the school where the students placed the photos onto miniature posts in the ground creating a symbolic graveyard. 

“Today what was special was that the students were able to see a face to the name of a soldier who has passed away,” said Nespolo, 28. “These are the people that have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Everything that we have today is because of the sacrifice that someone has made. 

“For students to be able to see a face associated with a name it brings more meaning and a symbol to what they have experienced.” 

Nespolo’s Grade 6 and 7 students seem to already have an exceptional grasp on what it means to go to war even though they still frequently ask questions on the topic. 

“Well war, the idea kind of scares me but I think the soldiers that fight are very brave and I think it is a good thing that they do it because they give us freedom,” said 12-year-old Sophia Lasnowski. “(Soldiers) make me very proud because I know that they are fighting for rights of not only our country but other countries too.” 

Lasnowski’s Grade 7 classmate Emma Love praised those serving in Canada’s military by focusing on their teacher. 

“It makes me feel very proud that my teacher has contributed in keeping Canada a safe, happy place for all of us,” said Love, 12. “He helps in making my freedom possible.” 

Even younger students like Will Martin, 10, understands that Remembrance Day isn’t just about the remembering those who died in past wars, but also those currently risking their lives abroad and at home like Cpl. Nathan Cirillo who was gunned down on Oct. 22 while guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa. 

“I am very proud to be a Canadian because we try everything else to make peace before we actually start to fight,” said the Grade 6 student.

And it is protecting the lives of Canadians, both young and old, which has kept Nespolo in the reserves.  

“I believe that it is important to serve our country and to not only be witness to but to believe that we should be taking part as citizens of our country,” he said. “I absolutely love it.” 

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