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WAR MEMORIALS PROJECT 2

Remembrance ceremonies.
Is your local war memorial used as part of any ceremonies on Remembrance Sunday or Armistice Day (November 11)? Plan to attend next November and make notes on what happens.

INFORMATION: Ceremonies are still held at many war memorials every November, on Remembrance Sunday. The Royal British Legion often arranges these events, which usually consist of two minutes' silence and a religious service, sometimes followed by a march-past of war veterans and others .

The Remembrance Day ceremony in London centres on the Cenotaph in Whitehall, where military units and bands parade, and wreaths are laid by royalty, politicians and former members of the armed forces. The tone of these events is increasingly being questioned. The First World War ended many (how many?) years ago, so fewer and fewer people are left who can actually remember what it was like.

DISCUSSION/QUESTIONS:
As the years pass, are there good reasons to remember the wars of the past, or to hold ceremonies on Remembrance Sunday or at other times?
How can we remember something we have not experienced?
If ceremonies are still worthwhile, what form should they take?
Should they refer to the glory and pride of war or the suffering and agony?
Do Remembrance ceremonies underline the horrors of war or do they tend to justify the slaughter that happens in wartime?
Why is so little (nothing?) said about the causes of war and preventing war?

INFORMATION: For a few years after the First World War, a Victory Ball was held at the Royal Albert Hall on Armistice Day, but protests meant that in 1925 the Ball was postponed and a service of Remembrance was held instead. In 1927 the first Festival of Remembrance took place at the Albert Hall. These Festivals are held annually, on the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday. They are organised by the Royal British Legion (who also produce the millions of artificial poppies people wear for Remembrance) and include parades and demonstrations and mock battles by former and current members of the armed forces, as well as a religious service.

DISCUSSION/QUESTIONS:
What feeling do you get from Remembrance Day ceremonies: for example, sorrow, pride, indifference, boredom, triumph, thanksgiving, shame?

It is estimated that 80 million people died in the First and Second World Wars, a total of some 200 million in the 20th century. Are memorials sufficient to honour these war dead - or is there more we should do to remember them? What does honouring mean?

A peace protester painted the words 'Fight war, not wars' on the war memorial in Swansea. What does this mean? Do you think it was right to paint these words on the memorial? Why do you think it was done?