'We Need to Understand Why Nations Went to War' PROGRAMME TO COMMEMORATE WWI LAUNCHED BY FIRST MINISTER

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 29, 2013 | Go to article overview

'We Need to Understand Why Nations Went to War' PROGRAMME TO COMMEMORATE WWI LAUNCHED BY FIRST MINISTER


Byline: LIZ DAY liz.day@walesonline.co.uk

AN extensive programme of events designed to commemorate the centenary of the First World War has been launched by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

The four-year programme, known as Wales Remembers 1914 -1918, was officially launched at Cardiff Castle's Museum of the Welsh Soldier yesterday.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Jones said: "As we approach the centenary of the First World War, it is fitting that we reflect on this overwhelming event, which led to tremendous sacrifice and bravery on the battlefield and quiet heroism on the home front."

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He added: "The period from 1914 to 1918, and the immediate aftermath, shaped the Wales we live in now and we need to understand not only why nations went to war, but also the lingering impact of that war on our daily lives."

The programme, which will begin in August next year, aims to identify and mark significant anniversaries, support community projects telling the story of Wales in WWI and leave a digital legacy of the commemoration for future generations.

The project will be built around key dates, beginning on August 4, 2014, which marks 100 years since Britain declared war on Germany following its invasion of Belgium.

Later in August, a memorial to all Welsh people who served during the First World War will be unveiled at Langemark in Flanders.

Other major initiatives include an exhibition commemorating the Christmas Truce of 1914, which is being developed by The Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum in partnership with the Saxony Regimental Museum in Dresden and the French municipality of Armentieres.

The project will tell the story of the brief lull in fighting at Christmas 1914 in Armentieres, when gifts were exchanged between soldiers on both sides.

The exhibition will be displayed in Cardiff after visiting France and Germany.

Other key dates include August 9, 2015, which will mark 100 years since the 53rd (Welsh) Division landed at Gallipoli and July 2016, which will mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, including the engagement by the 38th (Welsh) Division at Mametz Wood.

Mr Jones, who recently travelled to Flanders to visit the site of the proposed memorial to Welsh troops, said: "I want these commemorations to reach out to people of all ages to encourage them to take an interest, whether it be in the history of their own families or communities or in national and international events. …

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