Remembrance Day, 11 November at 11am, Amiens State School stopped to
remember. We remembered that on the 11th
hour, of the 11th day, in the 11th month of 1918, the guns on the Western Front
fell silent, bringing to an end World War I.
Although the news of the ceasefire was greeted with relief
and joy, there was also a sense of shared grief and loss. Hardly a family was
untouched – of the 330,000 men who had served overseas, 62,000 had been killed
and more than 150,000 had been wounded or taken prisoner.
This year, our students have been studying
the War and its impact on Australia as well as on our name-sake town, Amiens,
on the Western Front in France. However,
instead of holding our own school Remembrance Commemoration at the Amiens
Memorial beside the school this year, our students joined the Amiens community
commemoration at the Amiens Legacy Village.
Our school has for almost three years now partnered with the Amiens
History Association, in learning our local history and commemorating historical
events together. We were invited by the
Amiens History Association, who hosted the event, to be involved in the
ceremony which also marked the opening of Stage 1 of the Amiens Legacy Village. The Village’s centre-piece at the moment is
the restored period train carriage and the display of historical memorabilia
set up in it.
The ceremony commenced at around 9:30am, and
the crowd was already beginning to swell
at that hour. With an expectation of
around 250 people in the audience, it was soon clear that that number would be
exceeded. It was conservatively
estimated at 500 by the time the ceremony commenced, with some reckoning the
number to be closer to 800.
The Amiens students had been practicing for
many weeks with Mrs Pauline Leigh for the re-enactment of the signing of the
Armistice, their tribute to remembrance.
Some students performed in period costume for the pageant with others
bearing flags of the countries involved in the signing of the Armistice. The Prep to Year 2 students formed a guard of
honour and sang the French National Anthem.
Congratulations to our students for their
part in the proceedings. As usual, by
their behaviour and their involvement, they showed our school in the best
light. This view has been shared by the
many people who offered their congratulations on the day and since.