On the school day nearest to 11th November each year the CCF of Stewart’s Melville College and The Mary Erskine School stand guard, arms reversed, at a short and simple wreathlaying ceremony at the Stewart’s Melville College war memorial. At 8.30 in the morning in Edinburgh it is still not fully light. It is cold and grey, and it is usually raining and windswept, yet in spite of this the whole school, assembled to watch the ceremony, remains still, quiet and attentive. There is no doubt that all those present have a clear understanding of the reasons for the ceremony, and its continued relevance today.
When the wreathlaying is completed, the whole school attends a short service of Remembrance in the Stewart’s Melville College Assembly Hall. Here the highlight is the address given by the Principal, Patrick Tobin. Each year he produces a talk which holds the audience spellbound, from the oldest governor to the youngest pupil – a difficult age gap to bridge in public. He demonstrates the folly and recklessness that drive nations to war, and its horror and stupidity, and he describes the courage and dedication of those who volunteer their service and their lives to defend the rights and freedoms of their compatriots.
The author(s): Patrick Tobin
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