As you know, there are very few occasions when the nation stops to pause and reflect. The 11th hour
on the 11th day of the 11th month is one such occasion. As we give thanks for the sacrifice of those
who have served our nation, I feel a growing tinge of sadness that, despite the harsh lessons learnt about
the atrocities of war last century, we are no closer to finding ways to resolve disagreements and mistrust
between people of different nations.
Indeed, in the last few years it appears that our tendency
towards fundamentalism, to build walls rather than bridges, is increasing along with the political rhetoric
around trade wars and the like.
As an educator in the midst of such trends, I always find myself
inspired by the idealism and hopefulness of each new generation of students. Taking time out to
reflect on Remembrance Day is an important part of enabling them to grapple with the tensions and misunderstandings
that lead to conflict. As a society we also invest heavily in the education of each new generation in
the hope that they will be better equipped to respond to the challenges of inequality, fear and prejudice.
In a Christian school, we accept that we cannot do it alone. So, we pray that people of
all faiths will be moved to strive for better ways of resolving conflict and inequality in our world.
Our special guest on Remembrance Day this year, Detective Senior Sergeant First Class, Sid Thomas,
has had a long and distinguished career in the South Australian Police Force. He also enjoys strong
ties to many community and sporting groups in South Australia. When Sid retired in October this
year it was 58 years after he first walked through the gates of the Thebarton police barracks making him
not only SA's longest serving police officer but also Australia's.