To remember is to be able to ‘bring to one’s mind an awareness of someone or something from the past’. In other words, it is the act of summoning the past into our consciousness. This act of remembrance is a potent force, capable of evoking both happy and sad memories. Arguably it is our particular set of memories that make us uniquely who we are, filled with the people and experiences that have defined us. So, remembering may be shaped with both thanksgiving for the good things, a sadness for those things over which we had no control and a remembrance of bad things that we wish not to repeat.
All these aspects of remembrance are present as we look ahead to Armistice Day, the day on which we remember that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the conflict of WW1 ended. Many will be wearing poppies in remembrance and observe the two minutes silence. This act of remembrance is special in that it is a collective act of remembrance marked by the whole nation and etched into our identity. Even though WW1 has faded from living memory, the importance of remembering the sacrifices made in that war is paramount, as we are reminded, “Lest we forget”. Sadly, it was not the war to end all wars, as others have followed and some continue even today. While thankfully many of us will never know what it means to be in combat firsthand, we are the beneficiaries of those who do. There are few if any families who will not have been touched by the effects of war in their family histories. So, this week, we remember, because it is our duty and failing to do so risks the repetition of history’s gravest mistakes.
The theme of remembrance weaves through the winter season, a time when our culturally diverse community celebrates significant milestones in their calendars. Some may already be knee-deep in preparations, while others are just beginning to sense the impending festivities. Yet, the clock is ticking on preparing for festivals including Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas. A recent supermarket trip felt like navigating a slalom course around pop-up stacks of chocolate selection boxes and table crackers – further prompting our subconscious that December is just around the corner. In the coming days, different faiths and communities will celebrate the power of light over darkness, good over evil, and the sheer excitement of families enjoying firework displays across the country.
We have already had timely reminders, with Halloween during the half term break and Fireworks Night behind us and the changing of the clocks providing that all important extra hour in bed. Further signs will soon follow and before you know it, you are sitting down to watch the newest John Lewis advert which has become for many just as much of a festive tradition as picking out a Christmas tree, putting up the lights and opening the latest door on the advert calendar.
Being part of the school community is a blessing as this half-term although busy and may feel like, at times, a whirlwind, it is also teeming with excitement, adventure and joy for both students and parents. There is much to look forward to, including our inaugural Parent and Staff Quiz Night, the annual Christmas Fayre with its many exciting attractions, the Junior School Christmas Craft Workshop and celebration evening, House Plays which stands as the grandest house event of the school year and the spectacular Christmas concert, to name but a few. This half-term is always busy, but we know the students really do love this time of year at school.
As the march towards the end of the calendar year starts in earnest, we can’t wait to welcome you into school for some or all of these events, and share moments with your daughter that will last a lifetime. Then in the years that follow, you can reminisce and remember the joy and connection that define this remarkable season.