Last week, students, faculty, parents and alumni commemorated Remembrance Day with music, words and prayer. At the Senior School ceremony, we were honoured to be joined by Second World War veteran and alumnus Captain J.B. Young ’34-’41, who participated in the service.
Reverend Keven Fletcher spoke about war, which we often think of as something of the past though it continues to happen around the world. While war destroys homes, countries and lives, said Reverend Fletcher, it cannot destroy hope and faith, which persist in the most difficult circumstances. The soldiers who died fighting remain examples of human faith and strength.
“We remember them for their sake and for our own,” said Reverend Fletcher. “We cannot afford to forget.”
After The Lord’s Prayer, the string orchestra played the slow and mournful piece “Adagio for String Orchestra,” which was followed by Psalm 23, sung in duet by Benjamin Schaan and Andy Erasmus. Also adding to the musical aspect of the ceremony, the Middle School choir performed Rain Down and the Grade 7 singers provided the lighter piece, “Somewhere a Child is Singing.”
Thanks to the generosity of the Stiven family, who lent the letters written to home by Albert Stiven during the First World War, Kirsten Marsh and Will Jevne (as Albert) reenacted the correspondence sent between mother and son. Before his death in January 1917, Albert wrote home about the shortages of food and supplies, the fear on the battlefield and his longing for home.
Head of School Bob Snowden read from Captain Harvey’s letter, which was written in 1914 before he left to fight in France. “I need not tell you that my heart is with the old school…” wrote Captain Harvey, who explained his signing up to fight with the words, “I felt it was the only honourable thing to do.” After the Rolls of Honour, during which the names of alumni lost in both wars are read, wreaths were laid in their honour. Captain J.B. Young, joined by two Junior School students, laid the wreath for the Second World War, in honour of the men he knew and fought beside.
At the Junior School ceremony, the Grade 5 students took the lead, performing moving readings of “The Story of Sadako” and “Why Wear a Poppy?” They were supported by the Grade 2 class, who performed “In Flanders Fields,” and the Grade 8 strings students, with pianist Tina Yu, who provided much of the music for the ceremony.
All of the Junior School students contributed to the ”Peacefulness Board” by writing what peace meant to them on a cut-out of a person. This exercise, part of the Virtues programme, was also connected to the lessons on Remembrance Day in the classrooms.