The View From My Study 11th November
Can you recall your earliest memory? The very first thing that you can remember? Not something that happened to you that you have since become aware of from photographs?
It is hard to be sure but the moment that stands out to me was being a 3 year-old passenger in the front of my Mum’s car (in the days before child-seats) and looking up at the rooflines of houses. I saw an unusual one and asked my Mum if they had put the carpet on the roof. She laughed and told me it was a thatched roof. I laughed too in recognition of my silliness but I was probably a bit embarrassed too, and that’s why it has stuck in my memory.
When there is an emotional attachment to situations, we’re more likely to remember them. Love, pain, loss, anger, guilt, pride and embarrassment – when we experience these feelings, we’re more likely to remember the reason they occurred. The great Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Today is Remembrance Day which recalls the day the fighting stopped at the end of the First World War. It can be an emotional day for many. We stopped and stood in silence this morning to remember all those who have gone before us yet fallen in the act of standing up for the values in which they believed. I am not talking only about victims of the Great War but all wars since, including Ukraine and other areas where conflicts continue to rage.
The emotion attached to Remembrance Day can be anger, born from the loss of so many people with bright futures, dying tragically young. They continue to do so. But the anger should not be used to inflict guilt or exact revenge; instead, it should be a catalyst for good, and for creating positive, new memories that enable us to build stronger, more peaceful societies.
I look forward to welcoming Upper School parents to our Remembrance Sunday service in the chapel which is a very poignant occasion.
Gareth Jones, Headmaster