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Remembrance Day assembly


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#16 Russel Tarr

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 05:02 PM

It's a fascinating poem - because the first part is usually the one which is read (the horror of war, the human loss and suffering) and yet the final part is unstintingly patriotic and aggressive: it captures well the dichotomy about rememberance which Finemess started in the interesting thread a week or two ago here.

I'm also interested to hear a bit more about the "White Poppy" campaign. Another couple of questions:

1. When did "Armistice Day" officially change its name to "Rememberance Day"?
2. When and why did "Haig Fund" stop appearing as the logo in the centre of the red poppies?

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

#17 Dan Lyndon

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 06:26 PM

Another excellent question Simon. I shall be reading the first two stanzas.

You can find out about the white poppies here: Peace Pledge Union - the organisation was set up in the 1930s by widows of WW1 soldiers concerned about the drift to war.
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#18 jamest

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 01:23 AM

Very good points Simon, what does remembrance day today really mean and especially for me in the context of an international environment. It will be a challenging message to put across.

James

#19 Russel Tarr

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 06:22 PM

To paraphrase from the site recommended by Dan:

Red Poppies:
A growing number of people have been concerned about the [red] poppy's association with military power and the justification of war. If the dead are said to have 'sacrificed' their lives, then why weren't the living, who came out of the same danger, being suitably honoured and cared for by the state that sent them into it? The language of Remembrance, in the light of that, looks more like propaganda than passion.

White Poppies:
The White Poppy symbolises the belief that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than killing strangers. The idea of an alternative poppy dates back to 1926, just a few years after the red poppy came to be used in Britain. A member of the No More War Movement suggested that the British Legion should be asked to imprint 'No More War' in the centre of the red poppies and failing this pacifists should make their own flowers.

One format of assembly could be to ask students to raise their hands if they are not wearing a poppy. Is this because of apathy, lack of knowledge, or a moral objection? (rhetorical questions, of course!); but then those sitting wearing their poppies should also be challenged to think about it more with the sorts of questions raised here and in the earlier thread: what does the red poppy actually symbolise? when did the campaign start, and what is the money used for? does it send out the right message? does it even send out any message nowadays, or do people simply put a few coins in a tin and stick a poppy in their lapel to feel better about themselves? if you were presented with the chance to wear a red poppy or a white poppy, which would you wear? can you wear both (as Dan is suggesting) or do they fundamentally contradict each other?

Anything which gets the school community out of a ritualistic observance of the day has to be the best way to go...

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

#20 Lesley Ann

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 11:16 PM

Referring to Simon's post earlier for me the Remembrance/Armistice is about remembering the sacrifice of those who have died doing their duty, and remembering those service men who are still living.

I'm not in school this Friday (Roman Fort trip with Y7) so I have left Y10 GCSE students the task of delivering the PowerPoint to the whole school on Friday in my absence!
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#21 Carl Fazackerley

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 11:38 PM

a roll call of the names of students and teachers from the school who died during WW1 followed by 'In Flanders Fields' and that is it.


This is what used to happen when I was at school. The prefects would read out a section of the 120 Teachers and Boys who died in WWI & WWII. In Flanders Fields was read out. Then a pupil would play the Last Post. I still remember now what an impact it had on me every year; especially the two years I was involved in the reading of the names.
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#22 Tom Morton

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 01:39 AM

I am surprised that none of the responses to the initial posting have addressed jamest's request for ideas for how to recognize Remembrance Day that are appropriate for a school in Beijing. It seems to me that there should be something quite different than recognition of the deaths of colonial troops on the Western Front. I do not have any great ideas for him, but would be very interested in how he and his students in Beijing see the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Apart from this, the postings on Remembrance Day in general reflect similar issues that we have in Canada. I had my students prepare video documentaries on the Battle of Vimy Ridge for a school assembly. Vimy is for Britain a small part of the Battle of Arras (sp?) but for Canadians it was very significant, sometimes referred to as our war of independence. On the other hand, it could also be said to be the ruin of the nation because of the conflict over Conscription to replace the dead between francophones and anglophones. Below are my suggestions to them on what pespective that they might take:

The Past Defines Us: We are clearly tied to our military past because it is this tradition that has made us who we are today. Vimy, for example, led to greater autonomy for Canada and a sense that we are one nation. On Remembrance Day we should pay tribute to this traditional story and to the sacrifice of our soldiers.

The Past is a Source of Lessons and Models: Vimy Ridge clearly showed what Canadians can do. It also showed the importance of a core of experienced military leaders, disciplined soldiers, and careful planning. In addition, many Canadians have been inspired by the sacrifice and bravery of our soldiers. Remembrance Day could be a time to teach these and other lessons to young people.

The past is not relevant to us today: This approach does not accept the traditional stories. For example, a Québec student may pay little attention to Vimy Ridge but see great importance in Conscription. The story of Canada’s increasing autonomy and national identity achieved on the battlefields of Europe may also have less importance for more recent Canadians whose war memories are from Asia, Africa or Latin America. Moreover, the war was a long time ago; Canada and the world have changed. (If you take this approach, be sure to be respectful to the soldiers and civilians who sacrificed so much in the wars and for whom Remembrance Day is an emotional day.)

The past is important but we need to consider modern circumstances: For example, a Remembrance Day ceremony based on this approach might recognize the contribution of our veterans and the value of joining our allies to defeat Germany after it invaded Belgium, but argue that we should still be cautious in sending our troops to other foreign wars such as those in Iraq or Afghanistan. Likewise, Vimy Ridge may teach a lesson about Canadian leadership, discipline, and courage but maybe these qualities in today’s world could be put to use for other purposes than war.

There is also a very good video and song for Remembrance Day on-line written by Terry Kelly and called "A Pittance of Time". It is based on an incident that he observed in a Dartmouth drugstore, a sad story but one that he has turned into a great song. They are at http://www.terry-kel...om/pittance.htm

There is also a version available in French.

Tom Morton
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#23 jamest

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 04:24 AM

Thank you for your contribution Tom. You have hit exactly what my big problem is! I will let you know how it goes but being in an international school I am trying to be sensitive on all perspectives

James

#24 Lesley Ann

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 03:23 PM

I've wrote a script to go with the powerpoint for y10 to read

Year 10 students, it would be nice if you could wear a Poppy when leading the assembly.
Slide 1:
Speaker 1: The first official Legion Poppy Remembrance Day was held in Britain on 11 November 1921, inspired by the poem In Flanders' Fields written by John McCrae. Since then the Poppy Appeal has been a key annual event in the nation's calendar.
Speaker 2: Some of the bloodiest fighting of World War One took place in Belgium and Northern France. The poppy was the only thing which grew in the aftermath of the complete devastation. John McCrae, a doctor serving there with the Canadian Armed Forces, was deeply inspired and moved by what he saw, he wrote these verses:
Slide 2:
Speaker 3: In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
Speaker 4: That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Speaker 5: We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Speaker 6: Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' fields.

Slide 3:
Speaker 3: Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
Speaker 4: The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
Speaker 5: We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders' Fields.

by John McCrae (1915)



Slide 4:
Speaker 6: On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the First World War ended. This photograph shows the men who signed the armistice on that day….a war to end all wars. We know it was not the end of all wars.

Slide 5:
Speaker 1: After the First World War civilians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives for peace and freedom. An American War Secretary, inspired by John McCrae's poem, began selling poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-Service community. And so the tradition began.
Speaker 2: In 1922, Major George Howson, a young infantry officer, formed the Disabled Society, to help disabled ex-Service men and women from the First World War. Howson suggested to the Legion that members of the Disabled Society could make poppies and the Poppy Factory was subsequently founded in Richmond, Surrey in 1922. The original poppy was designed so that workers with a disability could easily assemble it and this principle remains today.
Speaker 3: Did you know? The Poppy Appeal raised over £24.7 million in 2005.

Speaker 4: Did you know? The Royal British Legion is the UK's leading charity providing financial, social and emotional support to millions who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces. They also give support to the families of the servicemen.

Speaker 5: Did you know? 300,000 staff and volunteers organise the Poppy Appeal each year

Speaker 6: Did you know? 70% of the workers at the Poppy Factory who make the poppies are disabled or suffer from chronic illness.

Speaker 1: Did you know? This year, more than 36 million poppies, 107,000 wreaths and sprays, 800,000 Remembrance Crosses and other Remembrance items will be made at the Poppy Factory in Richmond, Surrey.



Slide 6:
Speaker 2: This week we remember all the servicemen who gave their lives in both the First and Second World War. We also remember those who gave their lives in wars since then.

Slide 7:
Speaker 3: Since the Second World War there has only been one year, in 1968, when a British Service person has NOT been killed on active service.

Slide 8:
Speaker 4: Today, British men and women continue to serve their country, overseas. Some are engaged in active conflict. British service people are in action around the world every day of the year. They need to know that the Royal British Legion will be there to help them when they need it most.

Speaker 5: Since the conflict began in Iraq in 2003, 121 British servicemen have died. The 121st soldier died this week on 6th November after an attack on an army base in Basra.

Speaker 6: These soldiers photographed here are all casualties of the Iraq conflict. They gave their lives serving our country:
1. Sergeant Christian Hickey, 30,
2. Second Lieutenant Richard Shearer, 26,
3. Private Leon Spicer, also 26,
4. Private Phillip Hewett, 21,
5. Corporal Marc Taylor, 27,
6. Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel, 35, (pictured on his recent wedding day)
7. Signaller Paul Didsbury, 18
8. Fusilier Stephen Manning, 22,
9. Fusilier Donal Meade, 20
We will remember them….

Slide 9:
Speaker 1: They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old,

Slide 10:
Speaker 2: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,

Slide 11:
Speaker 3: At the going down of the sun, and in the morning

Slide 12:
Speaker 4: We will remember them...

Slide 13:
Speaker 5: We will remember them..

Slide 14:
Speaker 6: They will not grow old like you or I. They will not see their children or grandchildren grow up. They gave their lives for their country. The ultimate sacrifice. We will remember them.

Slide 15:
Speaker 1: Remember the dead, don’t forget the living. Wear your Poppy with pride.

The End.
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#25 Simon Ross

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 06:47 PM

Set my year 9 top set a homework to find out what the Red Poppy is and why people wear it, and what the white poppy is and why people wear it. Armed with this research they need to come to the lesson with a view on whether they would wear red, white, both or none. Will have a formal debate a week on Thursday, so will let you know how it goes!

S

#26 Russel Tarr

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 08:49 AM

Set my year 9 top set a homework to find out what the Red Poppy is and why people wear it, and what the white poppy is and why people wear it.


Sounds really good - I've found this thread really stimulating....only to find that my assembly on Remembrance Day which I was busy getting ready has been shelved so they can get their Morrisby Test Feedback instead!

:(

Still, there's loads of ideas here for next year!

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

#27 Simon Ross

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 05:10 PM

How topical are we! Listening to the Today prog (just after 7) this morning there was an article about a campaign to encourage people to wear white poppies:

http://news.bbc.co.u.../uk/6131464.stm

I'm hoping that Newsround might do something on it to add into a class debate...

#28 Dan Lyndon

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 07:10 PM

Indeed, I listened with great interest, and my Head talked about the white poppies after my assembly to the Year 9s this morning. I started this time with the last two stanzas from 'Dulce et Decorum Est' to give a bit of balance as to what we are actually remembering. I am considering wearing my white poppy next week.
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#29 Norman Pratt

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 01:25 AM

I agree with the idea that pupils should be invited to think about the issues raised. Either they need to be presented with a range of information, with an implied invitation to make up their own minds; or we ourselves, as adults, need to present what we believe to be true, whether it’s (in the red corner) ‘these died on your behalf’ or (in the white corner) ‘this was a pointless waste’.



Personally I would go for the assembly that asks questions, as opposed to the one which provides an answer.



And now for the provocative bit, on a related issue that should concern us as history teachers. It is relevant that we have been discussing ‘Remembrance’ as a topic in 'The International arena' of the Forum. The History Curriculum that we teach in England (and as far as I know elsewhere in the UK) is a nationalistic one. We teach largely British History up till the 20th Century, when we do look at the world - but from a British point of view. The one place where globalisation hasn’t penetrated, it seems, is our History Curriculum! The casualties of the ‘4th World War’ between North and South, for example, are quite comparable with the more dramatic events of World Wars 1 and 2, and deserve equal time and attention.



And since this thread started with a request to make sense of Remembrance in the context of China, we perhaps need to recognise now, what we British failed to recognise in 1931, that the Second World War started with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.



My point is that one way to decrease wars between nations in the future would be to teach more human, and less national, history now.

#30 Russel Tarr

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 08:35 AM

Yet another idea (an assembly I watched, not one I came up with myself) which worked really well:

A colleague talked for 5 minnutes about an uncle of his who he had been talking to over a beer the night before: a war hero from the 2nd World War who had fought in a number of campaigns. My colleague outlined his uncle's experiences, and then said how after the war he had married his fiancee, had kids, had a career - the usual stuff people do - and was now in happy retirement.

He then changed tone and said "at least, that's how it should have worked out. But in actual fact my uncle was killed in the final campaign I described". He then made the point that his was a life cut short, that the woman never did get married or have children, and so on.

I'm no doubt explaining it very clumsily, but you get the idea - it was a really powerful assembly.

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert




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