Remembrance Roundup

Never have I been so happy to live in the time of the world wide web, as I could see and share all the forms of remembrance this past weekend as the world marked the centenary of the end of World War I. I have been profoundly touched by the cumulative efforts in Britain, starting with the amazing installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red four years ago, and under the auspices of the 14-18 Now WWI Centenary Arts Commission more poignant and engaging initiatives and installations followed, right up to the centenary of Armistice Day. The culture of commemoration in Britain appears deeply ingrained from my vantage point, but as the First World War was a global event so too is its remembrance: there were thoughtful exhibitions and installations in all of the Commonwealth countries, across continental Europe, and here in the United States. Here in Salem, I was really happy to see the Salem Maritime National Historic Site tell the story of the Second Corps of Cadets during the Great War on facebook all day long on Sunday, and more than a little confused that the Peabody Essex Museum decided to have a festive “dance party” the night before.

My favorite expressions of remembrance are below, but please nominate others! There is a much more comprehensive roundup of #ArmisticeDay100 in its entirety on Google Arts and Culture.


Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, 2014.

Wave Poppies

Wave Poppies at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2015. Paul Cummins and Tom Piper. Getty Images.

Were Here

We’re Here because We’re Here, 2016. Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris.


There but not There Tommy Silhouettes in Arundel Cathedral, June 2018. An initiative by the UK Charity Remembered.

"La Nuit Aux Invalides : 1918 La Naissance D'Un Nouveau Monde" - 1918 The Rise Of A New World Show In Paris

La Nuit aux Invalides, Bruno Seillier, Summer 2018. Getty Images.


Dame de Couer, October 2018. Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty.


Weeping Window poppies @Imperial War Museum, London, Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, 2018.

A visitor looks at a dove-shaped formation of thousands of artificial red poppies, made out of red bottle tops, at the Botanic Garden in Meise

A Dove of Poppies, Meise, Belgium, November 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir.


A “Trench” of Poppies, Tervuren, Belgium, November 2018. Sven Vangodtsenhoven and Hans Tuerlinckx of Art-Ex.

Some of the 72,396 shrouded figures that form part of the 'Shroud of the Somme' installation by British artist Rob Heard are seen in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in Stratford, London, Britain

Shrouds of the Somme, 2016-2018, Rob Heard. Toby Melville / Reuters.

Pages of the Sea

Pages of the Sea, November 11, 2018, Danny Boyle.

Ghost Soldiers

“Ghost Soldiers” in a Gloucestershire cemetery, November 11, 2018. Jackie Lantelli.


Sydney Opera House, November 11, 2018.

6 responses to “Remembrance Roundup

  • fbradking

    Another out-of-touch moment for PEM? An opportunity lost. But these pictures were stunning, and THANK YOU, dear Donna, for this remembrance! (My spouse, a vet, will also thank you!) Francie

    • daseger

      Thanks, Francie! I hate to be so down on PEM all the time, REALLY, but the timing of this gala really struck me as odd. Such a poignant weekend.

      • fbradking

        PS, I found this comment on your site — from PEM, perhaps?:
        “You might want to go see what they’re up to! Perhaps you will like their blog as much as they liked your comment!” (Was that standard-response talk? Or was it from PEM?? Anyway, it was curious and oddly timed, after my remark about PEM!)

  • Wendy Reilly Harris

    Thanks for this important posting.
    I esp loved seeing the poppies on The Sydney Opera House!
    Minister talked about the poem, In Flanders
    Field, this past Sunday.

  • JoAnn B Shupe

    “There but not there” was absolutely spooky and spectacular at the same time. Thanks for the shot.

  • Helen Breen

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for keeping the commemoration of WWI alive for your readers. May I share a memory?

    In June 2014 when visiting London I dropped into the SILVER VAULTS on Chancery Lane, an underground shopping experience that houses “the largest collection of silver for sale in the world.” Needless to say, I did not buy anything that day.

    But on the way out, I started chatting with an older gentlemen who was a “guard” I guess you would say. No one else was around. We started chatting about WWI. His face lit up. I told him about a book on the subject I had just read by John Keegan. He told me about all of the battlefields he had visited in Belgium and France. Both of his grandfathers had served. He said that he hoped someday to visit Gettysburg. He asked if I had gone there to which I replied, “No, it would be too painful.”

    We continued to chat. As I left, I sensed that we could have talked all day. Perhaps it was lonely in the vaults. I offer this vignette to illustrate how so many ordinary Brits are totally invested in the history and remembrance of WWI. Later I bought a poppy at the Imperial War Museum which I sport around this time of year…

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