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Remembrance Day

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To consider the importance of remembering those who have died serving their country.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a collection of diaries and calendars, a pen, a pad of bright Post-It notes and some remembrance poppies.

  • Note: the poem and prayer that appear in the ‘Time for reflection’ were written by pupils from Hatherden Church of England Primary School, in Hampshire, and are used with permission.

Assembly

  1. Ask the children if they have ever forgotten anything important.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Ask if anyone can think of any aids that we use to help us remember things.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Examples might include calendars, diaries, phone reminders, asking someone to remind us and so on. You may want to explain that, in years gone by, people sometimes tied a knot in their hankie to remind them of something . . . although it was easy to forget what the knot was there for!

  3. Point out that, although the above aids are useful, they can sometimes go wrong! For example, someone might write the wrong date on a calendar, or forget to look at it. A phone could run out of battery and fail to trigger an alarm.

  4. Show the Post-It notes.

    Point out that Post-It notes are useful for reminding us about things. Ask the children for examples of things that they need to remember today. Write short reminders on the notes and stick them in appropriate places. For example, a general reminder that lunchtime is at 12 oclock might be stuck on the door, whereas a reminder that a particular child needs to carry out a task at a specific time might be stuck on his or her jumper or desk. Make sure that you have some reminders stuck on your own clothing. Point out that visual reminders work well, especially if they are bright and eye-catching.

  5. Explain that, although we need to remember many things, there are some things that we must never forget. One such time is Remembrance Day, when we particularly remember all those people who died in the World Wars. Just as the little Post-It note is a visual reminder of the things that we need to do, the poppy is our visual reminder of those who fought in these wars, and who are still affected by wars today.

    Show the remembrance poppies.

Time for reflection

Let us pause to remember that, out of sadness and terrible events, there can grow a longing for peace.

Let us all work to make everyones lives peaceful.

Listen to this poem, which was written by a pupil at Hatherden Church of England Primary School. Can you hear its message? It is a message of hope and peace.

A war poem
Peace for the future, quietness everywhere,
S
top the war and fighting, tears of people everywhere.
M
en dying by the minute, dont let their eyes see darkness.
W
hy should they suffer the pain of war?
D
ont forget they risked their lives for us.
T
his heartbreaking war, it fills the air with horror.
I
ts like a hole that never closes, its like a light that never goes out.
P
eace for the future, quietness everywhere.
S
top the war and fighting, tears of people everywhere.

Prayer (based on another poem written by a pupil from the same primary school)
Dear God,
The bombing and shooting is around, was around.
The ambition for the future is peace.
Let the future see hope.
Let the future see happiness.
Let the future see peace.
The war is gone, but still remembered.
Cold and darkness in the war,
A black hole that swallows many souls.
I hope for a new world that will bloom.
Let the future see hope.
Let the future see happiness.
Let the future see peace.
The crying and screaming of war is in darkness,
Let the future be light.
The pain and sadness is gone; I hope it is gone forever.
Amen.

Follow-up ideas

  • Invite the children to write their own prayers or poems based on the theme of a message of peace.

  • Through drama and movement, explore themes of war, conflict and fear, and peace, hope and security.

  • Find out about charities and organizations that work in war zones today. What do they do? How are they supported? Can we help?

Publication date: November 2019   (Vol.21 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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