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Hundreds of youngsters thank the First World War generation
Hundreds of young people gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to say a special "Thank You" to the generation that fought in and lived through the First World War. The Arboretum, part of the Royal British Legion, hosted around 750 young people from schools across the country for the Thank You Youth Festival which celebrated the invaluable contributions of the First World War generation and paying tribute to their legacy. The festival, which was held on July 11, featured a wide variety of cross-curricular workshops exploring the radical, social and technological changes that occurred during the bloody conflict that lasted from 1914 until 1918.
Confetti cannons fill the air with red, white and blue paper.
The students took part in a wide range of activities, including being put through their paces by a 'Sergeant Major' on a First World War assault course, working alongside artists to learn how dazzle camouflage confounded u-boats, and uncovering personal stories about the contributions made by minority ethnic soldiers. Each participating school was able to compile a customised programme of activities for their students. The day culminated with a mass gathering of students in Heroes' Square to review the day's activities and to join in saying a gigantic "Thank You" to the First World War generation as confetti cannons filled the air with streams of red, white and blue paper strands.
The Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum site
The Thank You Youth Festival was funded by The Royal British Legion as part of the 2018 Thank You Movement. Aysha Afridi, Head of Heritage and Learning at the National Memorial Arboretum, said: "The young people who participated in the Thank You Youth Festival engaged in a number of exciting and thought-provoking activities providing them with a greater understanding of Remembrance and of the tectonic changes that occurred during the First World War. It is essential that we continue to help younger generations learn about the tremendous sacrifices made by wartime generations ensuring that the invaluable lessons learnt are passed on. The Thank You Youth Festival was a tremendous success and all of the students were enthusiastic and eager to learn as they ventured around the Arboretum. A huge thank you to the staff and students from the 16 schools who joined us for this historic event."
One of the more than 370 memorials at the Arboretum
Catherine Davies, Head of Remembrance at The Royal British Legion, said: "So much of our lives today is shaped by the example and experience of the First World War generation. It was brilliant to see so many children coming together at the National Memorial Arboretum to learn about the war's legacies and say their own 'Thank You' to all those who served, sacrificed and changed our world." The National Memorial Arboretum, at Alrewas, near Lichfield, honours those who have fallen. It has almost 30,000 maturing trees and more than 370 memorials across the site.