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I am legend

To consider what makes a person a legend, in the context of Remembrance Day.

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Key Stage 4/5


To consider what makes a person a legend, in the context of Remembrance Day.

Preparation and materials

  • You might like to play ‘Nimrod’, from Elgar’s Enigma Variations, which is often played at Remembrance Day services, as the students enter and leave.


  1. I wonder who you think of when I say the word ‘legend’? Maybe a great footballing legend like George Best? Or a rock legend like Jimi Hendrix? Or a legend of the cinema like John Wayne?

    A person becomes a legend when great stories are told about them, long after their death or the height of their fame. Today we will consider three such legends.
  2. The film I Am Legend is set in the deserted city of New York in 2012. Three years earlier, scientists had discovered what they believed to be a viral cure for cancer, until the side effects caused the destruction of the world as we know it. Dr Robert Neville (played by Will Smith) was one of those scientists.

    Neville chooses to remain in the city as it is evacuated, the only human survivor in an urban wilderness inhabited by wild animals and even wilder mutant humans and dogs. Neville’s mission is to reverse the spread of the virus using his own immunity. He chooses to put his own life in danger and to suffer complete isolation in his attempt to rescue humanity.

    He sends out a daily broadcast to any survivors, offering food, shelter and protection, assuring any that may hear, ‘Please, you are not alone.’

    A young woman and her son come to him with stories of a colony of survivors. The mutants attack the house, just as Neville finds the cure. He gives up his life to protect it. The young woman makes sure that no one ever forgets his sacrifice: ‘Dr Robert Neville dedicated his life to the discovery of a cure and the restoration of humanity … We are his legacy. This is his legend.’

    He displayed the greatest love of all, laying down his own life for the sake of others.
  3. This is how Jesus describes it in John 15.13: ‘Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’

    Christians believe that Jesus came to earth to rescue humanity. Jesus chose to put his own life in danger and to suffer persecution and mocking for the sake of all people. During his life on earth, he assured all that would listen that he would protect and provide for them. He reassured his followers by saying: ‘Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28.20).

    In the end, he gave his life to save the world. He too displayed the greatest love of all. Over 2,000 years on, many Christians around the world still tell the stories of Jesus and remember his death regularly in services of Holy Communion and every year at Easter time.
  4. At this time of year, we remember others who gave their lives for the sake of their country. We do not know all of their names. We do not know all of their stories. But we do know that many have died in wars throughout the centuries, to protect us and those who came before us. These men and women have also displayed the greatest love of all, laying down their own lives for their friends, their families, their fellow citizens.

    All who have sacrificed their own life for the sake of others deserve to be remembered.

Time for reflection

So let us take time to remember all who have died to protect their country and those who live in it.

Let us remember the example that Jesus set in giving his life for the salvation of us all.

Let us think about what we can do today to provide for and protect others who need help at this time.

So let it be.

Publication date: November 2008   (Vol.10 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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