It certainly made us all think. Staff Sergeant, Rab Durrant and Group Capt. Tim Below, Defence Attaché for the British Embassy in Vietnam, delivered powerful reminders of why the poppy has such enduring appeal in in the British psyche. It is, of course, a symbol of remembrance, not glorifying war but recalling to mind the reasons for war and the need for peace.
An in-depth presentation from Group Capt. Tim Below on the Battle of Britain, occurring 75 years ago this year, highlighted the enormous sacrifice made by Air Force pilots during 1940 to stem the Nazi invasion throught Europe into Britain. Their resistance in the face of enormous odds was crucial not only to the survival of Britain at that time and has importance consequences for the history of post war Europe.
Student performances particularly of ‘Red Flower’ and the ‘Last Post’ (played on every occasion to commemorate Remembrance Day) added to the sense of poignancy and cross-cultural relevance. The artistic displays put together by Primary students and the Year 8 contribution in selling emblems for the Royal British Legion are all reminders of how this event has struck a chord with our students.
Today Group Capt. Tim Below was wearing poppy-shaped cufflinks on this uniform shirt. He explained after the main presentation their significance: following a large battle in 1914 in Flanders (between Belgium and France) in which many men were killed and wounded, the brass shell cases were collected. Not knowing what to do with them for many years they sat in a warehouse, until the Royal British Legion bought them and decided to melt them down to fashion into these decorative items. It is a lovely piece of living history to share on such a great occasion as this.
I am very grateful to our guests, to the students and staff who have been to keenly involved in this event.
Mr Mark Sayer - Principal of BVIS Hanoi