HM Armed Forces Festival of Remembrance Centenary of the Armistice WWI, Royal Albert Hall (Crown Copyright, 2018)

#Armistice100 Festival of Remembrance: What Should We Remember?

MOD Spins Event, But First World War Victory Came at Terrible Cost

The First World War ended 100 years ago, today. The massive loss of life destroyed the world of our great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents and led directly to World War II. A generation was lost. The British Empire collapsed. Britain spiralled into decline. A hundred years on, what should we remember today?

The world we live in now would be unrecognisable to those who gave their lives for King and Country a hundred years ago. Would they fight for it again?

According to a news release from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), “The example and experience of those who lived through [World War I] shaped the world we live in today.” Yes, it did, but was it in a good way? Was the sovereignty of Belgium – the reason Britain declared war on Germany – worth the estimated 40 million soldiers and civilians killed or wounded?

And then there were the hidden casualties. We should also remember all the children who were not born because their fathers had been shot, bombed and bayoneted from Flanders to Mesopotamia.

At the Festival of Remembrance this year, in the presence of the Royal Family, the Royal British Legion led the nation in remembering the sacrifice of all who served. Attended by Her Majesty The Queen, Patron of The Royal British Legion, and senior members of the Royal Family, this year’s programme included special guest artists Sir Tom Jones, Sheridan Smith, Sir Bryn Terfel, Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones and others.

They performed alongside the Band of the Royal Marines, the Band of the Coldstream Guards, the Band of the Scots Guards, the Band of the Irish Guards, the Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra, the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, and the Royal Air Force Squadronaires.

The 92-year-old Queen joined her son and heir to the throne Charles, grandsons William and Harry and their wives at the Royal Albert Hall in central London at an event organized to pay tribute to all those who have died.

The event included serving and veteran representatives from across all three Armed Services and a finale with the traditional Two Minute Silence as poppy petals fell from the roof of the Royal Albert Hall, representing all lives lost in war.

Highlights of the performance were broadcast on BBC One TV at 8.30 pm on Saturday, now available on BBC i-Player.

Events to mark the end of the Great War have been taking place around the world, with leaders including US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May in France earlier on Saturday.

On Sunday morning the Queen, the Royal Family and senior members of the political and military establishment will be joined at the Cenotaph in Whitehall by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to mark the centenary of the end of the war. Steinmeier is the first German leader to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph ceremony.

Those who died in the First World War fought for a world that is gone. Have we lived up to their sacrifice?

Source: MOD

Image: Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall for the Centenary of the Armistice by British Army photographer Sgt Randall, RLC (Crown Copyright, 2018).