Members of the St Charles College Choir
On 11 November people all around the world observe Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day is a day to honour the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and civilians in times of war. In solidarity, St Charles College has continued in this custom, setting aside time to remember and honour the fallen.
We had the privileged of having members of the SA Legion and Natal Carbineers join us and lay a wreath. Pinned to each individual’s blazer was a poppy. The poppy has become the emblem of Remembrance Day. It was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in Western Belgium in World War I, immortalized in the poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae – ‘In Flanders Field’. Their distinctive red colour has become an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed in trench warfare.
Our newly elected Head Boy, Sanele Mdingi, addressed the Chapel regarding the significance of the day and the sacrifice of the brave men and women around the world who gave their lives in war. These individuals were willing to stand for what was right, often in the face of extreme oppression and injustice, willing to sacrifice much, in some cases the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. The challenge was then issued. We too may be called on to sacrifice, perhaps not in war, but in the daily routine of life. These sacrifices will not be dependent on our colour, culture or age but the character we have as individuals. Where will our character be put to the test? Will we stand against injustice? Will we be a voice for those who have none? Will we lay down our ambitions and time for others? In John 15:13 Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus ultimately sacrificed His life for each of us; truly a challenge as we consider the great need in South Africa and across the globe.
At occasions such as these two bugle calls are played, ‘The Last post’ and ‘The Reveille’. The Last post is a call to remember those who have been killed in war, while ‘The Reveille’ marks the beginning of each day to wake up soldiers. The two tunes symbolize sunset and sunrise respectively, and in the context of this occasion they symbolize death but more importantly a promise of resurrection.
The school Choir sang a rousing rendition of Jake Runestad’s composition, ‘Let my love be heard’ along with a Khaya Mthethwa medley. After the service, guests joined outside for the releasing of doves, symbolizing the release of our loved ones. This capped a meaningful Remembrance Day service for St Charles College. – Mr Ross Ducasse (St Charles College Chaplain)