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Study Abroad : "Lest we forget"

【明報專訊】11th November marked the centenary of the Armistice, the end of the First World War. All over Britain there were remembrance events and parades, in every city, town and village. To Britain the war was the loss of a generation — 886,345 UK troops were killed; sons, husbands, fathers. WW1 is also remembered for its futility; the blood of thousands of men were spilt in order to capture an insignificant amount of territory which would soon be re-captured by the enemy.

Unfortunately my school, too, was plagued by this tragedy, having lost 260 boys at an average age of 23, along with four teachers. They had bright futures ahead of them and were no different to pupils like us. Our chapel, which was built in their remembrance, held a very poignant service on Remembrance Day. During the service, testaments and poems were read out and moving hymns such as "I Vow To Thee My Country" were ringing out as the whole school sang in unison. We then moved out on to the chapel lawn, where everyone stood around a set of drums, silently, with a solemn stillness, for two minutes. When the trumpet sounded again, we departed, casting poppies on to a field of little wooden crosses. Red poppies have long been a symbol of remembrance and hope, as only they flourished in the ravaged battlefields in Western Europe. They are immortalised in the poem "In Flanders Fields" and are worn by millions every November. What moved me the most in the whole service was an extract from Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain "men and women...did not cry jubilantly 'we've won the war!' They only said: 'The War is over.'" "...a new age was beginning; but the dead were dead and would never return."

■Writer's Profile

Alice Sze is 17 and has been boarding in the UK for four years. She loves languages. Apart from Chinese and English, she studies Italian, French, Spanish, Japanese, Latin and Ancient Greek.

Email: alicesze25@gmail.com

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