Almost 101 years ago, at 11 am on 11 November 1918, an armistice was signed to bring World War I to an end.
Every year, as this date nears, Union High School commemorates the lives lost in “the Great War”, and the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, by observing Remembrance Day.
This year was no exception with the learners, staff and special guests gathering in the quad on Friday, 1 November, for a special Remembrance Day Service.
The Ven. Dr Mark Marais led the devotions, after which the Headmaster, Mr William Pringle, spoke about the significance of the day, highlighting the importance of Remembrance Day in “showing respect for those who were willing to serve their country and, if need be, to make the ultimate sacrifice so that we who are here now can have the life that we know”.
Two bugle calls, the ‘Last Post’ and ‘The Reveille’ were then played by Mr Charles Maasdorp, Union’s Head Boy of 1951, while Mr Hanno Sparrius lowered and raised the national flag.
The Last Post is a bugle call that has been incorporated into military funerals where it is played as a final farewell, symbolising the fact that the duty of the dead soldier is over and that they can rest in peace, while ‘The Reveille’, is a call that marks the beginning of each day to wake up soldiers. The two tunes symbolise sunset and sunrise respectively, and in the context of this occasion, they symbolise death, but more importantly a promise of resurrection.
The Union High School Roll of Honour was then read aloud by Mr Sparrius, to remember the Old Unionites who perished in valiant struggles “for hearth and home”.
Other traditions that were observed included a minute of silence for reflection and the laying of wreaths by the school’s Head Prefects, Sakhe Booi and Bowen Langmead, as well as by Mr John Crankshaw, on behalf of the Old Unionite Association.