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Afghanistan: the legacy of war - a special report by St Paul's Cathedral School for BBC School Report 2015

Welcome to BBC School Report at St Paul’s Cathedral School. 

We were witnesses to a national service of commemoration last week for those who served in the Afghanistan campaign, right next door in our ‘school chapel’, St Paul’s Cathedral!

The service was attended by many members of the Royal Family, military and political figures, veterans and the families of those who lost their lives.

In light of this, Magnus, Joss, Ben, Nevin, Guy and George investigated the Afghan campaign - the costs, both human and financial, and the legacy for those involved both in the UK and Afghanistan itself.

We were fortunate to be able to talk to Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor of the Cathedral, who organised the service.
He told us that the Cathedral was asked to hold the service because St Paul’s is an important place for people to come together to acknowledge the sacrifices made during the campaign.
We were surprised to discover that the Cathedral staff only had ten weeks to prepare everything to perfection and liaise with the many other organisations who would be taking part.
Asked which part of the service meant the most to him, Canon Michael described a specific moment when young Tyler Barrow asked the congregation, especially the leaders of many faiths present, to do all they could to strive for peace. They pledged, ‘We will.’
Canon Michael explained that the service was a unique opportunity for the families of those who died to come together for the first time, so that they could feel supported and not alone.
He was proud of the fact that the UK looks after its veterans well, though there is sometimes a need to nudge politicians to remind them of this prominent issue.
On the controversial issue of the presence of British troops in Afghanistan, Canon Michael stated that once the troops had been deployed, they urgently needed to be supported in their difficult work, but he strongly believed military action should always be a last resort.
The Precentor emphasised the Christian message that God stands alongside all people, even in combat, and many feel the presence of God at the most daunting moments such as these in their lives. 
He felt that no soldier’s death is wasted, but it is up to us to remember them and make their sacrifice worthwhile by striving to make the world a better place through the way we live our lives.

All of the SPCS School Report team would like to pay tribute to those who have risked, and continue to risk their lives to keep us safe.