A pair of Second World War bagpipes have a special connection to one Halifax family.
“My grandfather played the bagpipes on Juno Beach, on D-Day and the set of bagpipes he played on Juno Beach, are now the bagpipes my mom plays,” said Heather Stewart, a teacher and local trivia host.
Stewart’s grandfather was a Pipe Major with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders in the Second World War, a military connection that the Stewart’s are fiercely proud of.
“He went overseas in July of 1941 and he arrived home New Years Day, 1946, and he had ordered this set of pipes before he went over,” said Barb Stewart, Heather’s mom and a Pipe Major with the 36 Halifax Pipes and Drums.
Heather and Barb have bonded over the families connection to the Second World War.
A history that Heather strives to keep teach her elementary school students.
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“Elementary students need to know that Remembrance Day isn’t a day off, it’s not a holiday. They get to go to school because of people who went to serve in World War I and World War II. Not many of those veterans are left to keep telling that story of when Canada really became a country onto itself,” said Stewart.
She’s recently been selected as one of 35 educators across the country to travel to France with the Juno Beach Centre. While there, she’ll be visiting historic military sites like the one her grandfather was a part of.
“I’m going to be standing on Juno beach, perhaps where he was standing, so it’s a pretty important connection,” said Stewart.
The trip is an opportunity for participants to take the knowledge and experience gained back to their classrooms.
Heather has created a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of her trip.
It’s an experience that she says will remind her of the freedoms people like her grandfather fought for.
“I think we forget how lucky we are sometimes and it’s really important that we remember that and not just in November,” said Stewart.