A Grade 7 student in Grande Prairie has won a national award for a Remembrance Day poem.

Kieran Watson won the national award in the Intermediate category (grades 7-9) of the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Youth Remembrance contest.

“It was a tear-jerker when reading the poem for the first time,” said Brad Lewis, Grande Prairie Royal Canadian Legion #54 president.

“Having (Watson) win this award means a great deal to the many veterans in our city.”

Watson is the first student in the city to win a Dominion-level award from the Legion.

The poem, The Long Watch, first won the local district level award, then the Command (provincial) level before being recognized nationally.

The recognition comes as a surprise to Watson.

”When my mom first told me, I was frozen in shock,“ said Watson.

”This was the first time I had ever won a contest that meant so much for me and my parents.

“It is an extra special feeling that I’ll carry with me forever.”

Inspiration for the poem comes from Watson’s great-grandfather, who served in the Second World War and his uncle, who served in Afghanistan.

“I wanted to show them the respect they deserve,” he said.

“My great-grandpa was in (the Second World War) and fought in the raid on Dieppe and was captured after his tank got stuck.

“He was in a German camp for years until they marched back and were brought to safety.”

Grande Prairie Public School Division Superintendent Sandy McDonald described the poem as a “phenomenal achievement.”

For Lewis, it shows a commitment the next generation will remember what was sacrificed by Canadians for the lives lived today.

The Legion’s contest has a poster and literary contest annually that is divided into four categories by grade.

The Long Watch

By Kieran Watson

I have bled from Flanders to Panjwaii

Fought across the trench of time

I’ve defeated the evil of tyrant’s

That had no reason or rhyme

I’ve marched to the call of colours

I’ve marched to the sound of the guns

Over the beaches and into the caves

For the peace of our daughters and sons

I am no hero or statue or marker

Yet I am more than flesh or bone

I am every free breath a baby takes

And every free thought you’ve known

So if you value your rights and freedoms

If you hate evil’s chains

If you think the future is worth the cost

And that life is worth the pain

Let justice be your lantern

Liberty will be your guide

It does not take a sword or gun

To stand bravely by my side

I am a Canadian Soldier

And I will stand on guard for you

Until all things are set right again

And my long nights watch is through

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 01, 2023 at 12:52

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta
Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated