After Eucharist on Friday, the Pre-prep joined the Main Prep and a large number of parents, grandparents and guests to celebrate Armistice and the centenary of the end of the First World War.
This remains one of the single most important acts that we perform over the course of the year and I cannot stress strongly enough my feelings that the whole of our community should join us to mark such an important event in the most appropriate way.
Following a brief introduction, we observed two minutes’ silence. This was carried out impeccably by everyone present in the chapel. You could have heard a pin drop, and with the youngest members of the congregation just four years old, this really was impressive.
Zac then played the Last Post on his trumpet. This is not an easy piece to play for anyone and he did it beautifully. This is the second year that he has done it for us and I suspect that he will play it again in the future.
Caoimhe and George then read four lines from Laurence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen”, with us all echoing the last line, “We will remember them.” I always invite either a serving soldier or a veteran from the armed forces to speak to the children about the importance of the occasion and on Friday we were delighted to welcome Mr David Emery, a former member of the Royal Navy and now well into his eighties, to address us all. Mr Emery is the third generation of his family to join the navy, with his father dying in the Second World War when his ship was sunk by the German battleship The Scharnhorst. He spoke very movingly about his experiences at sea and left a deep impression on us all.
The Eucharist service that preceded the Remembrance service was also based very much around sacrifice and remembrance and Father Brendan tied all of this together with a quite remarkable story in his sermon. It was incredibly moving and will live in my memory for a very long time.
It is so important that we recognise the sacrifices that previous generations have made for us and also that we do this in a way that is inclusive and involves our own children as much as possible. This short and simple service barely lasted for ten minutes, but the message was received and each year our children’s understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it becomes clearer; one day they will need to pass this on to their own children.