The School community may not have been able to gather together to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day, but that certainly doesn’t mean that this important date went unmarked at Oakham.
Pupils, parents, staff and the Old Oakhamian community are all invited to watch the School’s Chapel service, that was filmed and delivered to pupils on Thursday, as part of our Remote Education.
Father Tim opens the service by saying, “this, above all else, is a celebration of peace and it is a fitting moment to remember all those who gave their lives for that peace.”
Oakham’s Head of History, James Roberts, delivers a wonderful Chapel address where he weaves his personal history with that of Oakham, Old Oakhamians, and the wider context of VE Day. It is absolutely worth a watch, and it can be seen here.
Rather than focusing on the terrible statistics of loss and the scale of the threat that was vanquished on 8 May 1945, James talks poignantly from a personal perspective. He describes his generation growing up in the shadow of soldiers and liberators. Mentioning how they had “little sense that these men – our teachers, fathers, uncles – were heroes. That wasn’t their style at all. They had saved western civilisation, but they were now far too busy working in the present, and building a future.”
He also speculates about what the 5th anniversary of VE Day, in 1950, might have been like in Oakham’s Chapel; given his own father would have been in attendance. Whilst the Chapel itself would have been the same in fabric, there would only have been only 300 pupils, compared with today’s school roll of over one thousand children.
During a beautifully moving Choir Anthem; Lux aeterna sung by Oakham’s Chamber Choir, the names of the Old Oakhamians who laid down their lives across Europe for peace, are displayed.
The School may not have been together, but our virtual Chapel Service provided a focal point for grateful remembrance.