Remembrance Day

2020 has been a year of sacrifice, and in some cases sorrow. Since March we have seen our way of life, and indeed freedom of movement restricted as we work together as communities to battle the world-wide pandemic that hit our shore at the start of this year. In the past seven months, we have changed the way in which we go about our daily lives, from missing visits to grandparents or extended family, no more sleepovers at friends’ houses, parties and proms postponed, and even GCSE and A level examinations cancelled. Our eagerly-anticipated holidays overseas to bask in the warm sunshine or our long-awaited trip to the Alps to whizz down a ski slope were all cancelled too. Sacrifices have had to be made and continue to be made, as we usher in a new wave of lockdown measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Sacrifice is a word that we use often but this year it is a word that we have come to empathise with and understand maybe more than we have in previous years. The government has asked us all to make small adjustments to our lives and for some, larger sacrifices have been made. The sacrifices and indeed the heroics of the medical profession, who in the early days of the virus were isolated from their families for a long period of time, have seen a different group of people hailed as heroes. Yet in these moments of darkness there have been times of pride in our nation. A high point for me was celebrating VE day, socially distanced from my neighbours, in a makeshift street party, watching Colonel Tom walk laps of his garden and talk of a renewed blitz spirit. All are small reminders of the sacrifices made for us by past and present service personnel. And so on Monday, we came together as separate Year Group communities, to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives for their fellow country men and women.

The first Remembrance or Armistice Day was introduced by King George V on 11 November 1919, to mark the anniversary of the end of World War One the previous year and allow a time for the British public to take a few moments to remember the fallen. Over 100 years later, there are no living veterans of World War One, as the last British veteran died in 2012, and before many years pass there will be no living veterans of World War Two, and yet we continue to remember. Sadly, as the years have gone by, new conflicts have claimed new casualties, and we have rightly turned our attention to the service men and women who have fought and died in more recent conflicts in the Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Those who have been touched by conflict can feel nothing but darkness, a sentiment echoed by a past British Foreign Secretary who, at the start of World War One commented that ‘the lights are going out across Europe’. It therefore seemed appropriate, in our Year Group Remembrance Services on Monday, for us to light candles as a symbol of hope as we prayed for peace for all people of the world.  

Mrs Zoe Ireland, Deputy Head