19 April 2013 at 11:42 am #270
The plans to commemorate the Great War seem to be lacking something. There is no central big idea apart from taking one teacher and two students on a familiarisation trip to the Western Front. The government funding is intended to lead to community projects, based on commemoration, but there is no money or consistent plan to support these projects.
There is a lot of information available about the people who served, fought and died. However, the information is in a variety of different archives and it takes specialist historians to interpret military history. There are TV programmes where experts investigate some celebrity’s family history, but most ordinary people don’t have access to the resources of TV programmes such as “Who do you think you are.”
Making a pilgrimage to battlefields is a long established and important component of commemoration, dating back at least to the Norman Conquest and the construction of Battle Abbey. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out, battlefields are hallowed ground, consecrated by the men who struggled and died for the societies in whose cause they fought. King George V started the tradition of pilgrimage to the battlefields of the Great War in his visits to the battlefields of Belgium and France in 1922. He made his Pilgrimage as a representative of the nation rather than as a veteran or close relative of the fallen. It was also intended as a model to be followed, and should form part of our commemoration of the Centenary.
I am working with several community groups to research the stories of the Great War dead and to promote a fitting commemoration of the Centenary of the Great War.
- Researching as much as possible about the past and family history of those who died.
- Finding out what happened to them during the war, the circumstances of their service and death and where they are buried and commemorated
- Visit to the battlefields, graves and memorials.
- Creating a legacy of the Centenary through publishing electronically and in a book the story of the Great War seen from the community, with a focus on those who died.
This is to deliver the Men behind the Memorial concept here. http://www.menbehindmemorials.com
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