On Wednesday, Prep to Year 11 girls and staff gathered on the Chapel Lawn to commemorate Remembrance Day. Under the shade of the trees and the beautiful jacaranda we reflected on the history and significance of the armistice signed at the end of World War I. Our School Captains and Modern History students, Kari Donaldson and Sandra Miller, spoke of the church bells that rang in celebration of peace and the poppies of Flanders’ Field which remind us that beauty can grow from pain. They concluded their speech with the following words, reminding us that peace must be our priority in all situations.
Sandra: Thus, Remembrance Day is a day for everyone, no matter their nationality or religion. We commemorate the day the whole world agreed to peace. Every country involved in the first world war made a conscious effort to be at peace with one another, to universally recognise those who have fallen. Unlike ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day is commemorated by many nations, allies and enemies standing together for one objective 102 years later - peace. For Australia, it was the first time we fought as a young and united nation; we were forced to put aside differences and fight as one body and from this our spirit of comradery, mateship, courage and relentless optimism was solidified. Women played and continue to play a vital role throughout the war effort, both on the home front and in the line of fire. Often history ignores the efforts and stories of people in marginalized communities but today we look back and recognise the silent voices of indigenous veterans and women. Their roles hold the same importance and serve as an inspiration for all of us to speak up against injustice no matter who we are.
Kari: Ultimately, Remembrance Day should remind us of the value, importance and brevity of life, it encapsulates the power of peace to counteract what was an epidemic of war, hate, destruction and a thirst for bloodshed. Peace calls all of us to equality, harmony and love, we must all actively endeavour to choose peace and we acknowledge those men and women still fighting in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Iran, Israel - the list goes on, serving as a reminder that we must affirm our ongoing commitment to pursue peace, for the scent of gunpowder still lingers, but today we pray that they find their peace, their equality and their harmony.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the students involved in our service: Bella Shelton for her haunting Last Post and Rouse, Cadet Under Officer Eloise Radford for reciting the Ode, Palakh Garg, Poppy Gibbons and Amy Grant for leading prayers and the Bible reading.
We continue to pray for those impacted by armed conflicts of all generations and I invite you to spend a moment in reflection using the prayers shared by our Yr 6 girls during the service:
On this Remembrance Day,
we want to thank you Lord for all who have died that we may live.
For all who suffered pain that we might know joy.
For all who had to cope with being in prison, that we might know freedom.
For all those who willingly served in the armed services or on the home front, sacrificing what they wanted so that we can live in peace.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.
Loving God, we bring before you those who are currently serving in wars and conflicts around the world.
For those facing the unknown, give them courage.
For those struggling with physical exhaustion, give them strength.
For those serving in desperate situations, give them hope.
For those leading others and making difficult decisions, give them wisdom
and for the families left at home, give them comfort.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.
Blessings for a restful weekend as we prepare for all the wonderful celebrations at the end of the school year.
Rev’d Sharon Mitchell
Click here to view the gallery.