Grey River Argus , 5 June 1912, Page 2
-«» . THE CELEBRATION
0n -Monday the- children of the Sta"^e and Catholic schools assembled atv.their representative schools. The .children vor e the colars with medals attached and saluted the .flag. At the State School the children were assembled in the' gymnasium and were 'flanked by the Cadets under Captain Wilson. Amongst those present were His Worship the. Mayor (Mr G. E. Perkins), ;1 F. Daniel, -(representing the Education •Board), Adjutant McAuley, and the following members, of the. School Committee: Messrs Williams, Barrowman, Jackson, Sweetnian, Forsyth, Keddell and : Earl.-" : - Apologies were received for the iin.avoidable absence of Messrs J.G.L. Hewitt S.M., and 11. J. Bignell, Chairman of 'the Education Board. ( " j The Citizens Band, who were in attendance, opened the proceedings with a .selection. . ./ . ' The Chairman of the School Committee (Mr Williams) then briefly addressed '.the children. He explained that the purpose of the gathering was to celebrate ; Empire Bay. They lived under a mighty . Empire "whose progress and prosperity they all enjoyed. Those Jiving in the distant outposts of Ihe Empire were inclined to forget the protection ,-tiioy enjoyed through forming part and it was for this reason that such a day had been instituted' to keep in memory the -groat and glorious traditions of ihe British, race. He then called upon tha Rector (Mr A. A. 4 dams)- to address them. THE REGTOR'S ADDRESS. Mr Adams spoke as follows:^— "Why is New Zealand alone celebrating Empire Day .in such a half-hearted fashion to-day? The reason is, I believe, Only' too v ell known to ihe general public. That the Government has not ignored the day altogether tends to indicate that the last spark of .■patriotism has not' as yet been entirely extinguished in the breast of our Premier. It can, however, be patriotism of^orily the flabbiest consistency that influenced our political leaders in deciding to observe. Empire .Day. con jpintly. with the birthday of the sovereign, for each possesses such individual importance as to demand its own peculiar function. But we must be grateful, if only in the smallest degree, that although anarchy and socialism are co rampant, the Dominion has not been wholly sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. This country is so far removed -fioni the heart of the Empire that every opportunity should be taken full advantage of to keep alive, in the breasts of the people, sentiments of attachment to and love for the motherland. In this connection it may not be. out of wlci.ee to say the teaching of British history should be compulsory in our schools, and that Ihe time wasted on che embroideries ■ -of education should be spoilt in the study of the social;, industrial, commercial and constitutional development cf the British Empire. I am convinced that one of the deadliest enemies— for he is an insidious enemy— toi the Empire, in this dependency, is the person responsible for practically removing history from the curriculum of our schools. By -making, that bnmch of educational optional, he .adopted the most effective means of stifling i in Ihe breasts of the children' those senti-
ii'onts whose cultivation is essential to th:» pi'i-foct growth of a patriotic people, ife has made it impossible for the pupils l.i he taught history efficiently, inasmuch ias ili!:ir tciichws ara not required ,to [ ]'r>s-Sf : -s even a second-hand knowledge ,of , Ihr» subject. History has marked those that nutde the. British Empire, and it will mark, with equal certainty, but in a different spirit, those that unmake it or allow it to dissolve. Individuals as well ■as communities should ever strive to modt] their future conduct on the noblest of the past, and it is chiefly by means of history that the deeds of our great statesmen, soldiers. sailors. and phila'ntrophistF .dhould be continually impressed on the minds of our children in order that they may grow up permeated with a desire to emulate them. It is the character of each child that grows into manhood within British limits that the future of our national life depends. If he is narrow and selfish, averse to labour, impatient of necessary, burdens, factious and selfiisdulgent, if he sees in. public affairs not the Empire but the 001111^7, not the country but t'.ie parish, not the parish but the pump, the Empire is' doomed, for its maintenance requires work and sacrifice and intelligence. On the other hand, if he aims at the diffusion of the blessings of industry undisturbed by war, at peace secured not by humiliation but by national virility, he needs to preserve the' British Empire not for himself alone, but for mankind. It would be a very easy, matter to place before you a long array of names of Britons distinguished for every virtue inherent in mankind, but their mere enumeration would 1 occupy hours, nay days. Bin why delve among ihe records of the past, in order to discover the names o* the British heroes almost worthy of deification ? ■ We have but to read the thrilling accounts of the wreck of the Titanic to cause us to.' thank' God that we are British, a-nd to be convinced that the Briton of to-day is, in every respect, worthy of the best traditions of his race, and that the British seaman, from the humble ' stoker, to the commander, in that awful calamity, and in these misnamed degenerate days, < have proved themselves equal to. the .magnificent reputation which the yhad the privilege and the honor to uphold, and have qualified, by their imperishable; deeds ol heroism, -to rank equally with Drake and the mighty Nelson. Let our aim be to walk- firmly in their noble footsteps. Let us never forget the grand old Union Jade which should constantly remind us of. the many inestimable privileges that ye, enjoy under its protecting folds, and of it-lie great:. part, that we, ;:-as : a, constituuent portion of that marvellous organisation known as the British Empire, are destined to play on the world's stage, and let us all endeavor, wherever we maj be, to keep* that flag forever the emblem of the free.
The children then sang "Rule Britannia.". This stirring patriotic air, which was sung unaccompanied, wns splendidly lendered. The pitch was well maintained throughout and there was a .good body 'of sound. , THE.. MAYOR'S ADDRESS. The- Mayor said that thiw year the celebration <of Empire Day the King's bration • of E m pire Day and the Xi n g's Birthday, the dates of which, came very close together, had been combined, and 'they lud .met. together to carry out the t unction in a fit and proper manner. June shower fell in the morning, but the af-3rd wns the birthday of the present goveiei) m George V, .md th-ey had met to honor that occasion. The children present were all fully aware of what a. birthday w,i<s. for as that of each member of the family came round it was marked by their parents in some v.-ay. With those of older growth .'the occasion generally pased by. unheeded, and it was generally some dime past before he (the Mayor) remembered his birthday. As regards the present King who rnled over our glorious Empire, they could not let his birthday pass without celebrating it and showing loyalty to the Ciown and the flag. New Zealanders mwt remember that they were I ait of the Empire, and although few in numbers, they yielded to none in their loyalty. Those present who had reached 'heir 'teens Avonld lentember that the present King -had visitpd the Dminion in 1900, and a great many of the people
of New Zealand had seen him. This was a privilege that none of the inhabitants had ever enjoyed before, unless they had come from the Old Country and seen the Sovereign there. His Worship concluded an excellent address by advising the children to observe the motto "Trust in God and honor the King." If they did this they would make better citizens and better fathers and: mothers.
Mr P. F. Daniel said that he was very sorry that illness had prevented Mr Bignell, Chairman? of the Education Boaiv!> ; from being present and addressing them. The Rector, in his address,. had struck a note of patriotism and loyalty that-wouldrosouhd through New Zealand and ' result in Empire Day being kept as it should be. He thoroughly agreed, . and all men of education and of common sense would agree with what Mr Adams had said with reference to history. We could not bs expected . to- reverence our. Empire unless we knoy something about it; and we' could know: nothing"- about it unless we. ..'were, taught ..history- in, the schools. .They would then grow up to manhood and know what tho Empire meant and reverence it as it should be reverenced. In his address he would particulai'ly confine himself to the juniors. The Empire was only a school. The King was the headmaster, and as in all schools, there were various standards. Standard VI contained the Houses of Parliament and the other great govering. bodies. All the other standards Avere ''represented also. England was the m;un,;,sctibpl, and j the various outposts of Empire were side schools. In ihe ordinary.;* school rthe headmaster was supreme, '■-..• arid rib one could ; interfere with his duties. In the King's actions they all had a voice through legislation, and if they did not like 'the King they could even turn him out. That was a threat power ,to give the school children of Empire. There, were wicked and bad men in the Empire schools,., and they v/ent among the lower elapses in .the school trying to get them to turn-out the King and reduce the Empire to annjr.hy. Naturally there were more children in the lower classes than in the higher standards, but 'as they advanced in the School of Empire they would learn to appreciate the school of Empire, and the wicked men would have no^ power to cause trouble. One crushing retort that they could give those who tried to weaken the. bonds of Empire was that in an outpost of Empire was that 5/00 strong children- and -well educated for their years, j had assembled to do'-liorpar io the occasion. Their parents knew what they were well looked after and that their life: and property were , safe. The British Empire, he would remind them, was the only one where life and property were absolutely safe and where health and well-being of its subjects were; -considered. Other nations were jealous of the Empire, and wanted to rob it of its rightful possessions which it had got by fighting and Good government. All should be ever ready to defend the Empire. The time was coming when every man would be called upon to defend his country, and the girls of to-day would be the women whose. safety would depend upon the valour of those who were the cadets now around them. . . The cadets then saluted the flag. All present joined in singing the National Anthem, whiclr was subsequently, played by the Band. Cheers.. were, then given for the Mayor and ihe School Committee, and three special cheers for the Secretary of -th« Education Board, whose admirable speech h.'id appealed to those present. The Baud also received a particularly cordial round of cheers for their services. The proceedings'- concluded with thn playing of "Auld Lang Syne."