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Remembrance Day 2020

Posted on: 11/11/2020

It has now become an annual tradition that our school community marks Remembrance by us collectively gathering to pay our respects to those who gave their lives so we can enjoy the freedom we do today. 

On Wednesday, our students paid their respects impeccably. Speaking to many of them since, they have told me we should continue to collectively honour those that have fallen. 

I thought you may be interested to know what I delivered to students as part of the event. 

Headteacher’s address at 10.58am on 11.11.2020 prior to the reciting of the Exhortation by Head Boy, Nathan, laying of wreaths, playing of the last post by River, two minutes silence, playing of the Reveille by River and reciting of the Kohima Epitaph by Head Girl, Maddie: 

“We are here today to remember all those individuals who have died in all wars, but particularly World War One. They made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedoms we do today. Today, we can all enjoy the British values of Democracy, the rule of law, Mutual respect, tolerance and liberty primarily because previous generations have made huge sacrifices. 

One example is the Battle of the Somme which commenced on 1st July 1916 and lasted for 141 days. Nearly 20,000 British troops died on day one, many in the first hour. A man died every five seconds. To put this into perspective, our school would have been completely wiped out and everyone killed in just under two hours. The battle claimed 125,000 British lives and over 300,000 lives between British, French, and German forces. World War One saw 20 million total deaths and World War Two saw, in its entirety, 70 million deaths. 

Over the past 6 months we have all had to change our lives due to the Coronavirus and at times it is incredibly frustrating as we follow the COVID guidelines including the one way system, the wearing of face masks and maintain social distancing.

Despite this, I continue to be very proud of your resilience and for the way you are persevering with your learning. However, we must put these conditions into context. We are not in trenches, freezing cold, covered in mud and lice, surrounded by decaying corpses and rats and having to endure trench foot nor having to cope with the deep seated stress and anxiety of knowing we may be ‘going over the top’ anytime soon. 

In a moment we will all, collectively, observe two minutes silence and I ask you to bow your heads and remember not only the huge sacrifice of previous generations but also, how fortunate we all are.” 

Thank you to Maddie, Nathan and River for their contributions to the event.

 

Written by Mr A. A. Bodell