The centenary of the First World War is to be commemorated by a 4-year programme of national acts of remembrance, during which time there will be an extensive range of cultural and educational events taking place around the globe.
The programme will begin with a memorial service at Glasgow Cathedral on 4 August, the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games will close the day before, and Commonwealth leaders are invited to remain in Glasgow to attend the ceremony and place wreaths at the city’s cenotaph.
Those lost to the Commonwealth will also be remembered at the Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons, Belgium, where, it’s said, the first and last of those who died in the war were laid to rest.
Westminster Abbey in London will hold a sombre, candlelit service, which will finish at 11pm - the moment when war was declared 100 years ago.
The Government has allocated £50 million to commemorative events in the UK, and the Imperial War Museum in London will open with much improved and revamped First World War exhibits and rooms for the centenary commemorations.
Less formal activities over the 4 years will include the updating and refurbishing of First World War memorials in towns and villages across the UK and the creation and setting of unique paving stones, especially celebrating those given military honours for their outstanding contributions.
Flanders Poppies have always been an iconic symbol of those who died in the First World War, and the Royal British Legion will encourage everyone to grow these flowers as a sign of remembrance.
Wherever you live, a museum close to you is likely to put on displays and activities that will recall and re-live many aspects of life during 1914 to 1918, from preparation for departure to war to how women at home contributed to the war.
Find out what's taking place
An ever-growing list of events across the UK will commemorate the First World War. For further information on what’s taking place, go to the First World War Centenary and Great War websites. Many of the events listed are free or have concessionary admission charges.
Tours to the Western Front
There will be tours to towns on the Western Front, in Belgium and France. Ypres, Arras Reims and so many others places were occupied by forces from both sides, and as centres for important military operations, they drew heavy fire from the enemy. There were high casualties and the towns were ruined. After the war, they were reconstructed meticulously and are now a salutary reminder for us of what occurred during the war.
To visit such places is not only educational but also frequently very moving. The war memorials and cemeteries on the Western Front are remarkably touching, bringing the visitor just a little closer to the reality of what took place there so many years ago. While some towns were rebuilt, others remain just as they were when the war ended. There are museums too, which replicate life during the war, showing how the soldiers existed and what they would have endured as the war continued.
Battlefield Tours of the Western Front will take 2 students from every English secondary school in order to raise young people’s awareness of the First World War. The tours will take place throughout the 4 years.
For events in Europe and Australia, these websites may be helpful:
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