We had two special but very different commemorations during the past week. The first was NAIDOC Week and the second, Remembrance Day.
NAIDOC Week is usually held in July each year but was postponed to 8 to 15 November in 2020 due to restrictions that would have stopped a lot of the planned activities.
Each year NAIDOC chooses a theme, poster and host city. For example, the last time Brisbane was the host was 2009 and the theme was ‘Honouring Our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth’. This year, Alice Springs is the host city and the theme is, ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’. If you are interested in learning more, you can see all the previous themes, cities and posters on this link: Previous Themes & Posters.
‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ acknowledges that hundreds of nations and cultures covered the continent long before it was called Australia and thousands of years before the first European arrived. NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace a diverse and rich history when the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were the first explorers, navigators, farmers, artists and more.
This week, our staff took opportunities to appreciate indigenous culture and hopefully your children came home and told you about what they learned and some of the activities they enjoyed. For example, our librarians put together a display in the library foyer and worked on a collaborative colouring activity for Primary students.
As Australians, we are a land of many cultures and NAIDOC week is a perfect time to celebrate Australia’s oldest culture. Let’s walk together in a shared narrative of love of country and our Creator.
There is a beautiful scene pictured in the book of Revelation in the Bible. Revelation 7:9-10 “After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands and cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
I love that the scene pictures all the different cultures, tribes, peoples and languages acknowledging that God is King and Saviour over all!
I often think that Remembrance Day is ironically named because the last thing we want to do is remember the death and destruction of war. However, Remembrance Day commemorates the day the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918 after four years of war. It celebrates the signing of an Armistice, bringing an end to the First World War.
On the first anniversary of the armistice in 1919, two minutes’ silence was instituted to commemorate the end of the First World War. Over time, Remembrance Day has come to be the date when we remember all of those who fought and died in the line of duty, serving their country and sacrificing their lives for peace.
Seventy-eight years later Australia’s Governor-General Sir William Deane, formally decreed 11 November to be Remembrance Day and urged all Australians to observe one minute’s silence at 11am on 11 November each year.
At GCC, we observe the minute’s silence and students are taught the meaning of the observance so they can understand the gravity of war. We also participate in a small ceremony at Turner Park and another at Australia Zoo.
It is not often that there is silence at GCC but at 11am on 11 November 2020, the whole College went quiet to observe this important event.
Mike Curtis, Principal