Each year CHS holds its annual Whole School Service of Remembrance – as well as taking a moment to honour those who served in wars and represent their country today, Head Boy, Peter Langton and Head Girl, Laura Hartig say it’s a significant tradition which has a far wider impact than you might initially think and remains as relevant today as the very first Remembrance Day all those years ago.
“Each year CHS pupils have the opportunity to reflect on the events that took the lives of so many almost a century ago. The significance of these years can still be seen throughout communities today, and almost everybody has heard stories from what life was like during the war; thus demonstrating the world-wide impact of the conflict.
It’s easy to say that Remembrance Day is an important day in anyone’s calendar, but particularly for a school like CHS because it gives us an opportunity to take part in an event that ultimately transcends school life and reaches out not only across this nation but many others as well. The significance of the two minutes of silence was first introduced by King George in 1919 when he requested it so ‘the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead’; even though two minutes is such a small proportion of our day, it allows us to reflect on the price of war, whilst also honouring those who are no longer with us.
One thing that can be taken away from this day is the importance of treating others with kindness and respect; it seems so easy in a polarised world to focus on oneself and individual matters, and to find endless fault or flaw in those of different views or background. As pupils of CHS we’ve been taught how to reflect on our relationships with others and the impact both our words and actions have on each other. A lot can be taken from the famous game of football played between men on both sides on Christmas Eve; all conflict forgotten for a single day in an attempt to bring back an element of normality in what was a time filled with sorrow and pain. It seems remarkable that even in the midst of war, two opposing sides could come together to play a friendly game in what is known as the Christmas Truce. The Waconian value of compassion comes to mind as it not only means treating others with sympathy but also gentleness, as demonstrated through a friendly game of football that united soldiers.
So if the question of why should a school like CHS observe Remembrance Day is asked it should be answered with ‘because of the values we have learnt’. History shows us the extreme examples of what happens when people forget their values, and events such as world wars depict the harshness of a place that limits our own humanity and respect for not only others but also ourselves. If society was to be a place without compassion it would be both a sad and lonely world; as a school CHS needs to remember the importance of this value, and apply it to all situations that we as pupils encounter, whether in school or out. Our treatment of others is fundamentally what undermines us as members of society, and in order to contribute in a positive and considerate manner, we need to remember the role we play in a larger society and the impact of our own actions.”