Remembrance at Vandyke

Published on 28 November 2016

Remembrance at Vandyke

Many of us grow  up accustomed to watching the parades and services on Remembrance weekend, but a large number of people living in the UK today may not be aware of the meaning behind the tradition. It is important to understand why we commemorate Remembrance Day, and also the specific background behind it. Remembrance Day is an important national day, where time is taken to remember those in the armed forces, both past and present. Throughout the years, British and Commonwealth citizens have made innumerable sacrifices during times of war and conflict, and continue to serve their country during times of peace.

Remembrance at Vandyke had an especial meaning this year – which also marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. This five month conflict was the battle that most defines the bloody attritional nature of World War One; a series of advances which resulted in infinitesimal gains and nearly a million casualties on both sides. The Battle of the Somme symbolises the horrific nature of trench warfare, the arrogant and inept generals, and the ultimate futility of the Great War.

In July of this year, Vandyke Year 9 students toured the World War One battlefields; a trip which involved attending the CWGC cemeteries in order to pay their respects. There were many men from Leighton Buzzard who travelled to the trenches of Northern France to serve in this bloodiest of battles; and, tragically, several did not make the return journey home. The purpose of Remembrance Day is to honour these individuals; to take a moment from our busy lives to appreciate their continuing service, their sacrifices, and, most vitally, their contributions toward maintaining stability in a fractious world.

The Remembrance Assembly this year focused  on different aspects of remembrance – the significance of the poppy, the meaning of the Last Post and the importance of remembering individual lives. Two Vandyke Sixth Form students – Cameron Rueppel and Michelle Machekera, gave readings at the annual Remembrance ceremony at the Leighton Buzzard cenotaph, while Year 9 students Enrique Addo, Alexander Brown, Eva Patterson and Eleanor Sizeland attended to represent the school and pay their respects. 

Mrs Akers-Jarvis

History Department