Remembering “The Great War”

I strongly encourage you to watch the audio-video slideshow created by the BBC for Remembrance Day.

Audio slideshow: The end of The Great War

The quote at the end of:

The war is over children, you can all go out to play.

from a lady remembering her headmistress racing into the classroom with the news in 1918 was very emotional for me.  My school had its own war memorial engraved with the names of “old-boys” who had given their lives in World War 1 and World War 2, several names occurred in both lists.  This memorial stood between the swimming pool and the cricket pitch, and so was a highly visible reminder throughout the year of the sacrifice of previous students so that we could enjoy our freedom.  If November 11 fell on a school day we would all assemble in our uniforms, red blazers and caps for the lower grades, gray blazers for the older children and stand silently while the headmaster read out the roll call of all of the names on the memorial.

That experience has stayed with me, and even now 17 years since I last stood by the memorial I still remember how the fields seemed so silent as we all stood there thinking of the boys who played in the same fields and then gave their lives.  I stood by the creek for the 2 minutes silence this year, and listened to the leaves rustle in the breeze, enjoying my freedom and thankful for those that made it possible.

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