General, The Lord Dannatt delivers a truly inspirational sermon at a virtual service that brought a community of over 1000 people together from all over the world.
General, The Lord Richard Dannatt started his sermon by taking us all back to a day in 1982 at the end of the Falklands War when two British soldiers came under attack from the Argentinians. He depicted a bleak scene, where our two soldiers didn’t have a hope of succeeding against such superior fire power at that moment. Captain John Hamilton ordered his signaller to run whilst he gave him cover. Hamilton gave his life so that another, his signaller might live.
Lord Dannatt continued to bring the enormity of the sacrifice of our armed forces over the years back to personal and individual stories that resonated deeply. He said, “Give thoughts not to mass armies, but to individual soldiers each with their own hopes and dreams. Wars might be started by Governments but they are fought by ordinary men and women.”
On first impression, with a dimished audience very well spaced across the Chapel, and a diminished choir from a single year group, again spaced at least 2m from eachother in all directions, with faces covered by a mask at key points in the service, you might have wondered if it might lack the emotion and poignancy of previous years.
However, it became apparent that the feelings of togetherness, anguish, inspiration, peace and hope are not cast in physicalities. Rather, through the sunlight streaming in the stained-glass windows, the beautiful sound of togetherness from the choir, the beating of a drum, the footsteps of the flag-bearer, the transformational words of the sermon and ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ pricking the solemnity with the warmth of hope.
The entire service was filmed and broadcast live on YouTube for a huge audience of current pupils and parents, past pupils and their families of all ages, VIPs all over the world, Governors, staff, the wider community to be part of. It is a virtue of the challenging times that we are navigating that we could for the first time, welcome an audience of well over a thousand people all over the world.
One of our Honorary Old Framlinghamians and members of staff now in a care home sent this email of thanks:
“I feel that I cannot turn off my computer without writing to you and asking you to convey my most grateful thanks to everyone who made it possible for me, at 84 years of age and now a permanent resident in a Care Home, to share with everyone at dear old Framlingham College in that most moving and beautiful Service of Remembrance in the College Chapel that I remember so well. I really felt as if I was with you all and sharing the service with you. It was a Remembrance Service that I will never forget. Throughout the time that I spent watching, my own memories of Framlingham came back to me so strongly that my current restricted surroundings just didn’t exist as those Framlingham years come flooding back. So, from one (very) old staff member, I send my renewed thanks and my very best wishes.”
A current pupil said, “I just wanted to say thank you so much for organising and enabling the Remembrance Service to go ahead today. I am sure that throughout my life I will go to a lot of Remembrance Services, but few will be as memorable. There was a huge sense of community within the chapel this morning, something that during these strange times we are not able to experience much, so to have the pleasure of experiencing it today made me feel incredibly lucky. My parents both very much enjoyed watching it live. They said how well arranged the service was, even for those not in chapel – and were extremely touched and moved by the whole experience. I feel very proud to call myself a Framlinghamian, especially today.”
Framlingham College remembers 250 pupils that lost their lives in the World Wars – for a small school, it reminds us how many young men went off to fight so that we may live in peace today. 250 poppies, each with an individual’s name inscribed on it, were laid on the alter. The College bell was sounded 250 times and 250 red scarves were tied to the apple trees on our South Lawn to serve as a fitting reminder to the whole school in this week of Remembrance.
We all left the service encouraged to look at our own personal conflicts and to ask ourselves what is in our hearts today, to strive to end our individual conflicts and to walk in hope.
If you would like to see the service in full including the sermon of General, The Lord Dannatt GCB, CBE, MC, DL please click here.