Our ANZAC Service has always been a special part of our school and this morning, our combined Junior Schools Service, was another special event. It afforded us the opportunity to reinforce the importance and significance of not only ANZAC Day, but remembering all Service men and Women, and communities affected by wars, in the past and present.
We spoke to the girls and boys about the amazing links between the tiny village of Villers Bretonneux in France, so badly destroyed in World War One, yet ‘reclaimed’ and saved by Australian Troops. The village school children tended to the graves of ANZACS killed during the fierce fighting that saw more than 1200 ANZACS killed on 24 April 1918.
In the early 1921, Sir John Monash oversaw the collection of funds in Victoria to assist with the rebuild of the village, and subsequently, what became known as The Victoria School. Still in its playground stands the sign “Do Not Forget Australia”.
Sir John Monash, and his planning and overseeing of the famous Battle of Hamel was also discussed.
We were delighted to be joined by Colonel David Jamison, from the Ringwood RSL, who read the ode and then Josh Apsey and Charli Victoria played the Last Post, a very moving moment. Mrs Lisa Robson (one of our parents) explained to the students and families about some important work she is doing in our local community with the Matilda Poppy organisation – they particularly remember Veterans who are still with us. Ava, Ashley, Chloe and Mietta also sang ‘The Last Anzac’ which was very touching.
At the completion of our Service, Colonel Jamison planted a Gallipoli Oak, descend from acorns originally brought back from the hills of the battlefield.
Maintaining an understanding of The ANZAC legend, hearing of the ‘good’ stories that have grown from the tragedy and ensuring that we will always remember those who sacrificed so much for us, is a right and privilege.