The school stood in silence during our Remembrance Service this morning as we showed our respects, not only to all those who have lost their lives in all wars but also to the 42 ex-Ryleys pupils who died in the First World War - a staggering number for a small school which puts into context the scale of loss during this conflict alone.
In reference to the First World War, British author, H.G. Wells, coined the phrase 'the war to end war' as it was thought that this conflict would create a new world order which would make all future conflict impossible.
Sadly, we know this is not the case and even at this present time, there are at least 32 different wars and conflicts taking place across the globe. Unfortunately, the human race does not seem able to learn lessons from history and live in peace. Ideological differences, greed and intolerance are often the root causes for conflict with the core values of love and compassion being totally absent. As the Dalai Lama stated, 'Without them, humanity cannot survive'.
Remembrance Day is a poignant time for so many for so many reasons. Not only do we remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives in service, but the deaths caused on all sides during a conflict and the untold suffering that follows, impacting people from all faiths, cultures and beliefs both physically and emotionally.
Who knows if the world will ever be able to co-exist peacefully, but if we are to have any chance of achieving this it must start with the children and education for all - ignorance is a very dangerous thing. We need to remember the core principles of personal and political freedom, as well as basic human rights, the rule of law and democracy, over which wars are fought, and work to help future generations understand and uphold them.