Heathdale flower 14th November 2019

In Remembrance

Remembrance Day is a great reminder of what it means to serve.

Heathdale flower

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

‘In Flanders Fields’ is a poem written by John McCrae during the first World War which happened in 1914 to 1918. The poem describes poppies blooming between gravestones of the soldiers who died. Poppies are considered the battlefield flower, because they are the first to grow back after war destroys the landscape. They have become a symbol of remembrance for those who die in battle.

Across the College this week we have observed the minute’s silence and taken part in Remembrance services. It is a delight to see the children observe the tradition and have such respect for the ceremony. The minute’s silence observed is a tradition born in a time when the vast majority of Australians could pause and dwell upon a name, or a face, or some small precious memory. In years past, Remembrance Day ceremonies overwhelmingly reflected personal loss – the shared silence added to other sad times when fathers, husbands, sons and friends were missed and mourned.

It is different now.

Now, thankfully, a great many Australians, have no personal experience of war, no way of knowing the anguish of enforced separation, or the greater grief of separations made permanent.

And for that reason, amongst others, it is time to renew our pledge.

This pledge is a promise to remember all who have been lost to war and to give thanks for their valiant service in defence of our freedom and to demonstrate the value we place in those freedoms so selflessly forged. Our independent nationhood which gives us freedom to think, to move, to speak, to worship God, to have a say in the election of governments, to own property, to raise a family and to educate children.

Where our patriotism is quiet but deep and where we stand a united people irrespective of whether Australia is the nation of our birth or of our choice. We recognise what was granted to us by the exercise of such moral courage during war time and we praise God for our current safety.
The numbers are truly staggering in their enormity – over 100,000 Australian soldiers, sailors, airmen, and servicewomen remain where they died, on every continent and in every ocean of the world.

These were Australians whose lives were lived in deeds. These men and women, these strangers from another time, have given us a legacy from the past on which to build the future.

Gifts of determination, of compassion and self-confidence, but most of all, of service.

This week, by recognising both what has been lost to us and what has been gained, by renewing our pledge to remember, and to think: ‘What will be my gift to others today?’