Over 100 secondary school pupils attended an educational event to mark the final year of Scotland’s World War One centenary programme at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh today, with a series of talks and workshops focusing on the aftermath of the war.
The day was opened by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, before an opening address was delivered by renowned historian Professor Sir Hew Strachan, Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and a member of the Scottish Commemorations Panel.
Pupils then attended a series of workshops hosted by some of the organisations established in the aftermath of the war. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission held a session on how the Commission was set up, its purpose, and why it is still needed today, while the Royal British Legion Scotland spoke about the requirement for a charitable organisation to provide support to ex-Servicemen when they returned from the war. Representatives from Poppyscotland shared the story of the poppy, its status as a symbol of remembrance, and the charity’s ongoing work, while a session delivered by Erskine covered its pioneering work to provide WW1 veterans with prosthetic limbs and help them rehabilitate through career training.
Susan Morrison, presenter and co-founder of Previously … Scotland’s History Festival, will deliver a session on how the war opened up new opportunities for women.
Professor Norman Drummond, Chair of WW100 Scotland and the Scottish Commemorations Panel, commented:
“Although the war had come to an end, life would never be the same. From countless grieving families and veterans who had sustained life-changing injuries and trauma, to the huge increase in women entering the workforce, society in Scotland was transformed. As communities attempted to deal with their loss and adjust to a new way of life, many organisations and initiatives were established, some of which continue to operate today and have become synonymous with remembrance.
“As we approach the end of the centenary commemorative period, it is hugely important that we remember that Scotland’s struggle continued well beyond the Armistice. It is only fitting that the next generation learn about the lasting impact of the war and give recognition to the organisations that helped the people of Scotland through its aftermath, and who continue their valuable work to this day.”
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said:
“World War I had a devastating impact across Scotland, with no town or village unaffected. This event will help young people understand that, although the guns fell silent, life did not go back to normal and many, both returning servicemen and those whose loved ones did not return, were faced with new struggles to rebuild their lives.
“As we near the end of the centenary commemorations, it is important that we continue to remember the tragedy of World War I and recognise the incredible bravery our soldiers and communities showed as they faced an uncertain future after the war.
“Especially as we celebrate 2018 Year of Young People, this initiative plays an important role in engaging our younger generations, helping ensure the legacy of World War I is not forgotten.”