Each evening this week, the Chapel has been open to all members of our community. We have listened to music, lit candles, read poems and prayed for peace in this troubled world of ours. The plight of displaced people thousands of miles from the safety of the Fylde Coast has touched the hearts of so many Rossallians.
We are a community that has always embraced the spirit of peace and reconciliation. And yesterday evening, we reflected upon the words of Harry Patch who died in 2010 at the age of 111. In 2005, Harry, a veteran of the First World War, travelled to Belgium where he met with Charles, a 105 year old German veteran. The meeting took place at the Menin Gate in Belgium and Charles and Harry exchanged gifts and sat together. With the wisdom that comes with great age, Harry later reflected that, ‘ the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder’. He concluded ‘irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims’.
So often, it is the School Chapel that becomes the focal point of our community. We are so fortunate to have such a beautiful building, one that encourages calm contemplation and is accessible to all members of our community. During much of the pandemic, it seemed symbolic of our togetherness and it served to anchor Rossallians – even when they were scattered throughout the world. It is a space which welcomes everyone; those who have a faith and those who have none. It embodies both the traditions of the past and our hopes for the future. It does so with a comforting permanence that reminds us that all things do eventually pass.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all Rossallian families who are experiencing uncertainty and anxiety during this time.
Headmaster of Rossall School