It is sometimes good to stop and think. Remembrance Week is one of those times.
Remembrance Day has its roots in the aftermath of the First World War. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we observe a two-minute silence. That is when, in 1918, the guns fell silent. The poppy was chosen as the symbol of remembrance because it was the first flower to grow again on the former battlefields of Flanders.
There is now no-one left who was alive at the time of WWI. Very soon, there will be no-one left who fought against the Nazis in WWII.
Remembrance Week Assemblies
So here at the English College, during Remembrance Week, we hold assemblies to remember those who died in the service of their country. We also raise money for the British charity, the Royal British Legion. The RBL helps those who continue to serve their country, by selling red poppies made by ex-servicemen and women.
COVID Support Force
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RBL. It is also the sixth year that Year 6 student Alexandra Brízová has been taking part in our Remembrance Week assemblies. This week, she has been telling students about how British servicemen and women have been helping to fight a very different war, against today’s enemy – COVID 19. The COVID Support Force has provided service personnel to deliver vaccines and to work in hospitals to help relieve the pressure on the National Health Service.
Remembrance Week is also a good time to look at the things that connect our two countries. The culmination of Remembrance Week is our participation at a ceremony on Remembrance Sunday. This simple ceremony unites our two countries because it is one of thousands of similar ceremonies that take place in every village, town and city in the UK on Remembrance Sunday.
ECP students play an important part in the ceremony at the Olšany cemetery. They help young Scouts and Cubs from the 1st Prague Scout troop to place crosses on the graves of soldiers and airmen who are buried there.
The former Czech Ambassador to the UK, Libor Sečka, has made this often moving documentary about his NeverForgotten project, explaining why he wanted to visit the graves of all the Czechs and Slovaks who died in the UK in the service of their country. The project attracted the support of several British Members of Parliament including Greg Hands, a Government Minister and former Governor of the English College, and Sir David Amess, who was tragically killed in his Southend constituency last month. You can see a list of all the graves Mr Sečka visited here.
Also taking part in the documentary are Vladimír Coufal and Tomáš Souček, who play for the Premier League club, West Ham Utd. Like Vladimír and Tomáš, ECP students also want to remember those in previous generations whose sacrifices ensured their freedom. By commemorating Remembrance Week in school each year, the English College helps to keep their memories alive.