How the nation remembered
This week the centenary of the First World War comes to an end. Over the last four years we have joined together to learn more about this important part of our history and to remember the brave men and women who served or worked on the home front to support the enormous national war effort.
Commemorations have taken us from the outbreak of war in August 1914, through to the devastating losses of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915 and the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. In 2017, we remembered Passchendaele, the infamous battle that produced the defining images of the First World War of mud, gas attacks and waterlogged trenches.
This year, we started to tell a different story - the story of the decisions and developments that finally led to Allied victory. It began with the appointment of Field Marshal Foch as the first Supreme Allied Commander on the Western Front. In August, we were in Amiens to commemorate one of the key turning points in the war - a decisive battle involving British, Australian, Canadian, French, and US forces. The subsequent Hundred Days Offensive - a four month period of Allied advances - resulted in the signing of the Armistice on November 11.
It has been an honour to play my part in the government’s centenary commemorations. One hundred years on it is still important to reflect on the events that shaped the world we live in today and take time to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice and the sacrifice of those whose lives were changed forever by their service.
The invaluable contribution of Commonwealth soldiers to the war effort must never be forgotten. It has been my pleasure to visit community projects across the UK, and not only those remembering British soldiers. Most recently, I had the honour of visiting the Chattri Memorial in Brighton, which is dedicated to the Indian soldiers who died in the First World War.
As we turn our thoughts to this historic day, the Centenary of the Armistice, we are keen to also give thanks for those who returned. These national moments of commemoration have been a poignant tribute to the unique generation who did so much. And through these, I hope we have ensured that more people - especially young people - understand the huge impact of the First World War at home and across the world.
Discover events taking place near you commemorating Armistice Day by visiting https://armistice100.org. uk/events/ and share how you will be remembering and giving thanks to all those who served in the First World War on social media by using #Armistice100
The Cenotaph, London, November 11, 1920