AT MAPLE RIDGE SECONDARY SCHOOL
Memorial Service Held for Sir Winston Churchill
On Friday morning, January 29, a memorial service was held in the M.R.S.S.S. auditorium for the late Sir Winston Churchill.
Following the singing of O Canada, principal D.A. Voth gave a reading from the Bible — Psalm 121 — which was followed by the Lord’s Prayer.
The Choral Society, under the direction of Mrs. Shaw, gave two selections, “Psalm 23”, and “My Faith Looks Up to Thee.”
The following reading from the “Apocrypha” was delivered by Trevor Wilson:
Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.
The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning.
Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophesies:
Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent in their instructions:
Such as found out musical tunes, and recited verses in writing:
Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations:
All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.
And some there be which have no memorial; who are perished.
But these were merciful men whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.
Their seed shall remain forever, and their glory shall not be blotted out.
Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth forever more.
Jim Hestermann gave a solo selection, “Crossing the Bar,” accompanied by Joan Smith on the piano.
Following this, the students listened to a recording of one of Sir Winston’s speeches.
The eulogy was given by Elizabeth Brooke:
“‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the fields and in the streets, we shall fight on the hills … We shall never surrender.’
“With these words, Winston Churchill, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, pledged his nation to fight for the cause of freedom. With these words Churchill pledged himself to the same fight. His death brings to an end his lifelong fight and brings sorrow to the hearts of the people of the free world who loved Churchill the man, and revered Churchill the symbol of freedom. But his death is not a time of tragedy and of mourning, but a time of remembrance and of gratitude. For Churchill died having fulfilled his promise to fight for freedom.
“Because Churchill became such a firmly established legend in his own time we are apt to view him as a figure of history, not as a man who lived and breathed until six short days ago. Because we high school students have not experienced a world war or faced the threat of the destruction of our way of life, we do not always realize the magnitude of Churchill’s feats. We are inclined to banish him to the history book, the social studies exam, and the film-clip documentary. Too seldom do we realize how real and how recent is his gift; how great and how enduring is our debt to him Yet even beyond the grave the greatness of courage and of spirit that was Winston Churchill touches those who believe in freedom.
“Churchill was a man of destiny. His political career stretched over sixty-four years. His writing won him the Nobel Prize. His qualities of mind and of sprit, his powers as a wit, artist, historian, and statesman would have made him a leader in any country at any time. But it was his magnificent leadership as Prime Minister of Great Britain during the Second World War that established Churchill as the outstanding man of our century and made him the legend that he is.
“Let us return for a moment to the world of the late 1930’s.
“Churchill’s voice is alone, warning Britain, Europe, and the world of the “gathering storm”. The Nazi beast is sinking its deadly claws deeper and deeper into the flesh of Europe. Austria, then Czechoslovakia, fall as victims. Britain and France still cling to the forlorn hope of “peace in our time.” They buy a few months of peace with “scraps of paper.” They betray their allies. Then, the invasion of Poland. Suddenly, Britain and France realize what Churchill has known all along — peace and freedom cannot exist in the same Europe, on the same continent or in the same world as the Nazi dictatorship. War is declared in the fall of 1939.
“May 10, 1940.
“Winston Churchill, representing the refusal to admit defeat and the will to fight on, becomes Prime Minister. He replaces Neville Chamberlain who personified the once-popular now disproven theory of “appeasement”. Churchill with dauntless courage and bulldog determination leads his nation into its finest hour.
“Through the terrors of the war, Churchill fired the very hearts of his countrymen and of the entire free world. He became a symbol of peace and of freedom — one man fighting against the final darkness.
“France falls. Only the miracle of Dunkirk saves the British forces. Britain and the Commonwealth stand alone. The ordeal of the Battle of Britain begins — the country is torn by nightly German air-raids. In the rubble of London, Churchill’s voice, a ringing challenge, is heard. He inspires the British people — they endure the loss of their homes, the loss of their families. In France, members of the French underground risk death at the hand of the Nazi occupation forces to listen to Churchill’s voice on Radio London. His stout figure and celebrated cigar are a familiar and beloved sight to the people of Britain and of her allies. His electrifying speeches, classic wit, and unconquerable spirit lead Britain through 1941. His famous V-for-Victory sign lights a spark of hope in the free world in its darkest hour. Nov joined by the United States and Russia, Britain begins to push back the menacing Nazi beast.
“April 30. 1945
“Germany admits defeat. On August 10, Japan surrenders. The war is over.
“In war-torn Britain, the people go to the polls. Churchill’s nine year old government is defeated. Yet Churchill has won a far, far greater victory. He has won the love and respect of all those who cherish democracy. Freedom had defeated dictator ship.
“It is easy for us to forget how deeply the victory of freedom touches our lives. The ideology that was defeated by the soldiers of the twenty-one Allied nations led by the gallant Churchill is so alien to our way of life, so far removed from our experiences, that we cannot fully understand it.
“In a few moments we will return to our classrooms. We will not receive political indoctrination. When we leave this school this afternoon our every move will not be watched by secret police. If one of us is a Jew, he has more to look forward to than a ghastly death in gas oven or an even more miserable life in a concentration camp. We can express our opinions without fear that our best friends or even a member of our family might be an informer. We can think, speak and live according to our beliefs. Never have so many owed so much to one man.
“History will not forget Winston Churchill. His talents as an artist, as a writer and especially as a leader of men, are recognized. Yet the remembrance of a history text book is a weak and meaningless tribute to a man as great as Winston Churchill. Only as long as we continue the belief for which he fought so valiantly will Churchill’s legacy have any real meaning.
“Winston Churchill gave his blood, toil, tears, and sweat to protect the freedom we enjoy today. In memory of him, we do as much to preserve that freedom.”
Following the eulogy, there was a one-minute period of silence, after which the Choral Society led the school in the singing of “Abide With Me”.
The program closed with the singing of God Save The Queen.
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