Six weeks ago I stood in the Quad at LGS with a Year 7 form and watched as the schools’ CCF rehearsed for their annual inspection parade – an event which would have taken place this Saturday, 2nd May. I’ve attended several of these inspection days in the past and although this was only a practice run it still made compelling viewing: the boys who were with me stood wide-eyed as older members of LSF marched past, accompanied of course by a noisy contingent of drums and buglers.
For those who knew what might and should have been there was a palpable sense of loss, but this feeling did not have the last word – on the contrary all involved appeared determined to take as much as they could from the experience of being present in that moment. I found it really moving to watch how staff and senior cadets guided the other cadets through the different stages of the gathering: I look forward to attending a ‘proper’ Inspection Day again as soon as possible – thoughts are with those who are feeling the loss of this special event in the schools’ calendar.
I’ve noticed, this week, how much we have come to rely on military language and metaphors during this season of the pandemic.
The media is always reminding us that the world is fighting an unseen enemy in the Coronavirus; each day brings more news of how we’re faring in the battle. This week the PM returned to Downing Street to take back command, full of fighting talk about ‘pressing home the advantage’, as well as warnings against complacency.
This is the rhetoric of war, behind which lie the individual stories of those who have fallen – the media is making sure we remember them. Numbers have become names as we have been invited to encounter the victims of Covid-19 and hear from those who mourn their passing. We can no longer simply just clap the carers, (although it’s still good to show our gratitude and solidarity in this way) – we’ve realised that the sense of collective pride in our nation’s spirit must be balanced by an acknowledgement of the grief and suffering felt by some, and so many stood in silence on Tuesday morning to remember all who have died, and especially the NHS Covid-19 soldiers: Greater love hath no man… (John 15:13)
Tradition dictates that when wars end, nations and communities gather to remember those who have paid the ultimate price. LSF has always taken Remembrance seriously and I’m sure, when we’re back together, that we will find ways to remember those to whom we owe so much from this particular campaign. In the meantime, we continue as dispersed troops – each of us committed to loving and serving our neighbour, until that longed-for day when we are stood down.
Wishing godspeed to the LGS fundraisers this weekend! Here’s the web page again for anyone who would like to support http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DaveMiles2