I hope that week has been manageable. There has been so much happening across our schools and in the college. For many I am sure the weekend break will come as something of a welcome relief. Many of you will be marking Remembrance Day, either tomorrow at 11am or at a service on Sunday. Thomas Rotherham College will hold its annual Old Boys Remembrance event at its own cenotaph this coming Saturday. There will be students and staff from the college present, standing alongside pupils from Oakwood High School and Sitwell Junior School, and in the presence of Rotherham Grammar School Old Boys; some of whom served. Let’s hope the weather stays dry. We can take the cold, but the wet isn’t too pleasant on a Saturday or Sunday morning in November.
There has been a lot of noise about the remembrance events this year – oh dear, politicians saying too much, too often, again. In all that noise what might be lost is that ordinary people, and in fact our pupils and students, at whatever age, can hold two positions at once, and be comfortable with how they might compliment or contrast. It doesn’t have to be, and rarely is, a fight between positions taken.
In all of our schools and in the college, there have been events to recognise and mark the service of those who came before us. We don’t discuss just or unjust wars, in our assemblies held (across Sitwell, Oakwood and Winterhill) or before, or immediately after, the two-minute silence held at TRC, Oakwood and Winterhill, we just ask our children and young people to reflect and be respectful.
And don’t they just? In truth there are one or two, as there always have been, who don’t get it, can’t or won’t understand it, but the overwhelming majority of our children and young people understand that service and sacrifice should be respectfully recognised. Many understand that just by virtue (luck) of geography or history I and they do not have to fight, or to serve, or to die, for a cause, for an ideal, for freedoms. In standing in quiet reflections, they and I, stand to remember, and equally, to thank our lucky stars, or our deity, that we haven’t had to face the terror of conflict. They and I stand in quiet reflection in memory of all those who have had to fight, or who are innocent victims of the wars of others.
This weekend of remembrance will be no more, no less, charged or important than usual, despite the events of around the world and the noise of the politicians, all around this town, this county, this country, ordinary and upstanding members of our communities will take time to reflect – as our children and young people have done so well this week. It is with those that we stand. They and we will hold that remembrance, that reflection, whilst understanding it doesn’t diminish or deflect from what else might be being experienced by people in war zones today.
‘Of joys departed, not to return, how painful the remembrance’. Robert Blair