Kearsty Ryan’s un­cle would be proud

The Compass - - OPINION - — By Terry Roberts

Even at the best of times, it’s very dif­fi­cult for most peo­ple to stand in front of a crowd of strangers and speak from the heart. Most of us are too self-con­scious, lack the courage or worry that we won’t have any­thing to say that’s worth hear­ing.

But lis­ten­ing to Kearsty Ryan of Ge­orge­town, Con­cep­tion Bay speak­ing at a re­mem­brance cer­e­mony in North River last week, we couldn’t help but feel ad­mi­ra­tion for this young woman. She stepped to the mir­cro­phone, speak­ing on be­half of a fam­ily that suf­fered a great loss 10 years ago when a young man they all held in very high re­gard gave his life on a bat­tle­field on the other side of the world. It was a crush­ing blow to the fam­ily of Con­cep­tion Har­bour na­tive Cpl. Jamie Mur­phy, in­clud­ing his mother, Alice. In­deed, Jan. 26, 2004 was a heart-rend­ing day for the en­tire prov­ince, since Jamie was the first New­found­land-born sol­dier to lose his life in the con­flict.

But de­spite the heavy bur­den on her shoul­ders, Kearsty, with a steady voice brim­ming with pride and re­spect, paid trib­ute to her un­cle, and of­fered heart­felt thanks to a school com­mu­nity at All Hal­lows Ele­men­tary that has gone to great lengths to pre­serve his legacy. Those ef­forts are on dis­play at the newly opened Cpl. Jamie Mur­phy Me­mo­rial Play Park, lo­cated di­rectly be­hind the school, where an bill­board-sized photo of Cpl. Mur­phy keeps a watch­ful eye over this place of play, learn­ing and so­cial­iza­tion.

It’s ev­i­dent that the loss of her un­cle helped shape the woman that Kearsty has be­come, and there’s no doubt that Cpl. Mur­phy would beam with pride if he could see how poised, con­fi­dent and well-spo­ken she has be­come.

It was yet another ex­am­ple of what re­mem­brance has come to mean in this prov­ince, and a shin­ing one at that. Thanks to the ef­forts of school lead­ers and vet­er­ans’ groups such as the Le­gion, chil­dren of all ages have come to know the true mean­ing of words like sac­ri­fice, hon­our and free­dom. And thanks to peo­ple like Kearsty Ryan and her fam­ily, we can plainly see that some­thing pos­i­tive can come from the sac­ri­fices made by our young men and women on the bat­tle­field.

Bravo, Kearsty.

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