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News > General > Call to Remembrance 2023

Call to Remembrance 2023

17 Nov 2023
General

On a rather damp and grey day, OMs gathered in the sanctuary of the Crick Room for the Call to Remembrance. This moving and special annual event seemed particularly poignant this year given the recent global events. 

As if by fate, the torrential down-pour of the morning dissipated as the whole School assembled along the driveway behind the Gate of Honour. Thankfully, the rain continued to somewhat hold-off as the ceremony began. The new Head, David Benson, admirably spoke about the importance of the day and remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Although this was David's first Mill Hill Remembrance, and Stephanie Miller's first as OMC President, their wreath laying was graceful and touching. Following this, the traditional bugle was sounded. As the Last Post rang out, that rare, annual silence descended along the Ridgeway, as pupils, staff, Old Millhillians and onlookers reflected on the significance of the names listed on the Gate in front of them. After this came the traditional procession through the Gate of Honour. Everyone silently passed through the Gate, like so many thousands have done so since its opening in 1920. 

The Service of Remembrance continued the reflective mood for the day. The Chapel Choir's rendition of For the Fallen was elegant and fragile - being excellently led by the new Director of Musical Performance, Gareth Hanson. The new Chaplain Ryan Venn-Dunn sermonised about the importance of love and friendship during times of conflict and about loving your neighbour. He explained the etymology of the word 'Remembrance' and its meaning; about how by remembering people we keep our love for them alive, as well as helping to bring those who have passed back to life in some way.

Ryan then recounted a story told to him by Archivist Francesca Forte (Atkinson, 2012-2017) of two OMs who took part in the D-Day landings on Normandy 1944, and how they happened to be on the same stretch of beach, at just the right time to bump into each other. These two OMs were not only contemporaries but had also played on the same Hockey and Rugby teams together. Ryan highlighted the comfort and warmth these boys must have felt upon seeing another friendly face in an otherwise desolate place. As the names of the fallen from World War 2 were read out by Mr Benson, their photos, were displayed on the Chapel walls and on a screen at the altar for all to see. 

As usual, the day was a moving, poignant reminder of those who are no longer with us. We were reminded of their sacrifices, but also of how we can do our part to keep them and their stories alive, so that they, and their loss, can never forgotten. Lest We Forget.

 

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