Re­mem­brance is per­sonal at All Hal­lows

The sac­ri­fice of sol­diers like Cpl. Jamie Mur­phy not for­got­ten by stu­dents, staff at North River school

The Compass - - NEWS - BY TERRY ROBERTS ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Kearsty Ryan said it’s not al­ways easy to un­der­stand why young men and women are asked to sac­ri­fice so much dur­ing times of armed con­flict.

But she noted it helps to have a per­sonal con­nec­tion to some­one who has.

Ryan was re­fer­ring to her un­cle, Cpl. Jamie Mur­phy, a Con­cep­tion Har­bour na­tive who was killed in Afghanistan on Jan. 26, 2004.

Mur­phy was the first New­found­land-born sol­dier killed in the con­flict. A mem­ber of the 3rd Bat­tal­ion of the Royal Cana­dian Reg­i­ment, Mur­phy was just 26 at the time.

Since his death nearly a decade ago at the hands of a sui­cide bomber, Mur­phy’s legacy has lived on at All Hal­lows Ele­men­tary in North River, where a spe­cial se­ries of awards are handed out in his name, and an ex­trav­a­gant play park was built in his hon­our last sum­mer.

Dur­ing the school’s Re­mem­brance cer­e­mony on Nov. 6, Kearsty spoke about her un­cle’s sac­ri­fice, the im­pact his death had on her life, and the grat­i­tude she feels to­wards those — her un­cle in­cluded — who did some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary in the ser­vice of their coun­try.

She also of­fered heart­felt ap­pre­ci­a­tion on be­half of her fam­ily to the stu­dents and staff at All Hal­lows for help­ing pre­serve the mem­ory of her un­cle.

“He is not just fam­ily to me, but to all of us now,” stated Kearsty, who lives in Ge­orge­town. “I know he watches over ev­ery­one, ev­ery­day, es­pe­cially in the beau­ti­ful play park.

“I couldn’t be more proud for what you all do, and con­tinue to do,” she added.

For­ever grate­ful

She asked the sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple in at­ten­dance, in­clud­ing Le­gion mem­bers, mem­bers of the clergy, fam­ily and friends, to be grate­ful for what we have, and to never for­get the ones we lost.

“We may not un­der­stand the sac­ri­fice, but we all now know some­one who did” make the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice, Kearsty added, re­fer­ring to her un­cle.

The Mur­phy fam­ily was well-rep­re­sented at the cer­e­mony. Cpl. Mur­phy’s mother, Alice, along with his his two sis­ters, Rose­mary Ryan and Norma Mur­phy, were among those on hand.

But it was left to Kearsty, Rose­mary’s daugh­ter and for­mer stu­dent at All Hal­lows, to speak on be­half of the fam­ily.

She said as each Re­mem­brance Day passes, it’s be­come more im­por­tant that she not only re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fices, but also the lives of those who served.

“It’s days like to­day I know ev­ery­thing he did, ev­ery­thing he showed me, was worth it,” she ex­plained. “In this school we re­mem­ber ev­ery day. We do it, but we may not even no­tice.”

The con­flict in Afghanistan has largely dis­ap­peared from the head­lines as Canada’s com­bat role has ended, but hun­dreds of Cana­di­ans still serve in a train­ing role in the coun­try.

Some 158 Cana­di­ans were kil led in Afghanistan, the high­est num­ber of any sin­gle Cana­dian mis­sion since the Korean War.

As such, the con­flict was fea­tured promi­nently in the cer­e­mony at All Hal­lows.

For ex­am­ple, the lyrics to a well-known Amer­i­can song called “Trav­el­lin’ Sol­dier,” which was sung by the ele­men­tary choir, was tweaked to give it a uniquely Cana­dian flavour.

Mean­while, the cer­e­mony in North River was one of many held at schools in the re­gion last week.

All Hal­lows prin­ci­pal Kevin Giles said it’s a time of year that we “re­mem­ber all the won­der­ful things we have be­cause some­body paid the supreme sac­ri­fice.”

Pho­tos by Terry Roberts/The Com­pass

Kearsty Ryan, the niece of fallen sol­dier Cpl. Jamie Mur­phy, spoke on be­half of the Mur­phy fam­ily at the All Hal­lows re­mem­brance cer­e­mony.

Mem­bers of the All Hal­lows ele­men­tary choir sing a song called “Trav­el­lin’ Sol­dier.”

Sea cadet Madi­son Butt was among those tak­ing part in the cer­e­mony.

Three mem­bers of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion were on hand for the cer­e­mony. There were, from left, Gil­bert Noel (Car­bon­ear), Ed Jack­man (Makin­sons) and Ernie Mug­ford (Clarke’s Beach).

The MCs for the Re­mem­brance cer­e­mony at All Hal­lows Ele­men­tary on Nov. 6 were, from left, Abby McCue, Madi­son Knee and Maya Pet­ten.

Aleigha Gif­ford, a mem­ber of the All Hal­lows fid­dlers group.

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