This year will mark 97 years since the Armistice which ended the First World War and when, at 11am on 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare (1914-18).
Australians will once again be encouraged to observe a minute’s silence at 11am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.
As well as observing a minute’s silence, and inspired by the poppy display on the Tower of London last year, St Pius X High School, Adamstown will this year display more than 1,000 hand-crafted poppies in honour of the occasion.
The significance of the poppy arose during the First World War when it was commonly thought that red poppies, which were the first plants to spring up on the battlefields of northern France and Belgium, symbolised the sacrifice of blood.
“In soldiers' folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground.”
The crafted poppies, each made from bandages, wire and spray paint, have been individually made by at least 1,100 students representing 11 Catholic schools in the region.
Following Remembrance Day, the poppies will form part of a Travelling Visual Art installation which will make its way from St Pius X to the other 10 participating Catholic high schools before returning to the original school for Anzac Day 2016.
St Pius X Visual Art Teacher, Felicity Doyle, said it’s a symbolic and collaborative project which has involved Visual Art teachers and students working together in honour of the occasion.
“The Diocesan Visual Arts teachers have created this Travelling Visual Art Installation of “Poppies” which involves all Visual Arts classes from our secondary schools, some students with special needs and other staff members.
“The combined effort will be a poignant reminder for students, not only of the sacrifices of those who fought, but the importance of recognising ourselves as a community which shares this history.”
Miss Doyle said she was also inspired to involve the students in this unique project by her former colleague, the late Fiona O’Donoghue, who was an art teacher at StPius’. “She would have been a passionate supporter of this artistic venture and commemorating it in such a special way,” she said.
Principal of St Pius X, Robert Emery, said the collaborative project “has been a creative and engaging way of helping students across the secondary schools in our diocese come to a deeper understanding of the significance of Remembrance Day”.
Vice Captain, Thomas Howlett said, “Remembrance Day is a significant national day and it’s good that our school, as well as other Catholic schools, can pay our respect and commemorate the occasion in such a unique way.” This first modern world conflict alone had brought about the mobilisation of over 70 million people and left between nine and 13 million dead.
We will remember them. Lest we forget.