“Our first duty is to remember.”

By | Category: Travel news

the Cenotaph in London

The headline is a comment by David Cameron.
Last week the minister responsible – Andrew Murrison – announced to Parliament a summary of how WWI would be remembered over the next few years. As this is likely to draw large visitor numbers, CD-Traveller quotes the minister in full.

“I would like to tell the House what the Government are planning to do over the next four and a half years. First and foremost, and most obviously, there will be national events to capture the moment and set the tone. They will have an identifiably Commonwealth look and feel, reflecting the historical reality. We have been working with our international partners and with the devolved Administrations to that end. A centrepiece of the commemorations will be the reopening of the Imperial War Museum in London next year, following the £35 million refurbishment of its first world war galleries. There will be an enduring educational legacy, funded by £5.3 million from the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, to enable a programme based on, but not confined to, visits to the battlefields.

The Heritage Lottery Fund will provide at least £15 million, including a £6 million community project fund, to enable young people working in their communities to conserve, explore and share local heritage from the first world war, epitomised by yellowing photos of young men posing stiffly in uniform, possibly for the first and last time. Much of the public interest in the period is personal and parochial, and this will provide a non-threatening entry point to the wider story. There will also be at least £10 million in the programme of cultural events taking place as part of the centenary commemorations over the four-year period.

Work with organisations and across government will continue to generate initiatives that will find and engage people under the umbrella of the centenary partnership. I shall name-check just a few. They include: the centenary poppy partnership between the Royal British Legion and B&Q; the commemoration of great war Victoria Cross recipients at their place of birth; football matches to mark the Christmas truce; mass participation in volunteering in the Remember 100 project; street naming for the centenary to inculcate memory in the heart of our towns and cities; a British adaptation of the excellent Europeana digital archiving initiative, capturing previous memories and artefacts that would otherwise turn to dust; and the National Apprenticeship Service centenary challenge. All this has the common theme of bringing history to life for everyone in all communities, even those that might feel, right now, that this has nothing to do with them.”

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