09 Nov

We will Remember! We do Remember!

I never cease to be overwhelmed by the response of staff and pupils to our remembrance activities: be that the displays of poppies in the atrium or in the front windows, be that the ceramic poppies planted in front of the school and so immaculately observed and respected by visitors and all of our pupils, be that the response to Mrs Bowater playing the last post in the assemblies and at the end of our two minutes of silence.
 
I was asked yesterday by a visitor why we place so much emphasis on remembering and recognising. Ms Baker talked in the assembly is about two key elements of this time of year. Firstly, taking time to reflect and remember those of those who we have lost and not necessarily in conflict and, secondly, just simply saying thank you; thank you for all that we have, all that we can share and all of the freedoms which we possess.
 
One hundred years is a long time but it is clear to me that we have a generation of children and young people who do want to take time to reflect on historical events and do want to understand why and how we are where we are today, as a community, society, country and beyond. That might fly in the face of the public perception of young people however it is patently true when one observes how our children have conducted themselves throughout this week and how the majority conduct themselves, week in and week out.
 
I hope that, as individuals and with our friends and family, we can take some time to reflect this weekend. I hope that we can take some time to remember those who have lost; family and friends, more recently or sometime ago. I hope that we can find time to say thank you; thank you for what we have and thank you to those closest to us for all that they do.
 
It will be an emotional and important weekend. I hope that you can play your part.
 
Time to reflect… a famous verse that should be read in the context of the wider poem.
 
For the fallen.
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)