On Thursday, staff and students of St. Mary’s University lit candles placed at the base of each of the 3,620 markers that make up Calgary’s Field of Crosses.
It is part of the Night of Lights which ensures that each service member honored at the annual display is individually recognized on the eve of Remembrance Day.
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Brianne Dangerfield is a fifth year history student at St. Mary’s and said the process of placing each lantern allowed her to reflect on those who lost their lives in battle.
“We make sure that their name is said every year and that they are remembered,” Dangerfield said. “We remember the individuals, as opposed to just the war.”
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Thursday’s volunteers were part of St. Mary’s Presidents Volunteer Group, a program that gives students the opportunity to give back while completing their degrees.
St. Mary’s President and Vice Chancellor Sinda Vanderpool said the time spent in the sunny yet chilly conditions helps remind students of the sacrifices made by the thousands of service members.
“We emphasize educating students not only in mind, but also in heart and body,” Vanderpool said. “We want to train them as they go through academic programs to start giving back.”
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The lanterns will burn through the night until the morning of Remembrance Day but this is by no means the final shift for the Field of Crosses volunteers.
On Saturday, crews will begin carefully collecting each individual aspect of the display, including the lanterns, flags, poppies and crosses, to prepare it for next year.
Susan Schalin, president of The Field of Crosses, said the annual show would never happen without the dedicated work of volunteers.
“We have some 100 volunteers and they come back year after year,” Schalin said. “They only know what to do, so we put those experienced volunteers in the lead positions and the new ones fall behind and learn what to do.”
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A televised remembrance ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the Field of Crosses, hosted by Global’s Linda Olson and broadcast live on Global Calgary and the Global TV streaming services.
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