The Football Remembers Christmas Truce 1914 memorial has been unveiled in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Designed by competition winner, ten-year-old Spencer Turner from Farne Primary in Newcastle, the memorial was unveiled by HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
Until now, there has been no memorial on the 150-acre site dedicated to the Christmas Truce story of 25 December 1914.
The new memorial has been funded by the Football Remembers partners.
Speaking at the unveiling, in his role as President of The FA, The Duke said …
“It really is the most fitting culmination of the Football Remembers programme, and will serve as a permanent reminder of one of the key moments of the First World War.
We all grew up with the story of soldiers from both sides putting down their arms to meet in no-man¹s land on Christmas Day 1914 when gunfire remarkably gave way to gifts. It remains wholly relevant today, as a message of hope and humanity, even in the bleakest of times.
Football, then as now, had the power to bring people together and break down barriers.”
On 17 December, the British Army will take on the German Army in a special football match at Aldershot Town – bringing together serving soldiers from both countries almost exactly 100 years on from the original Christmas Truce moments of 25 December 1914.
The Duke was joined by FA chairman Greg Dyke, England manager Roy Hodgson, Premier League’s director of football Mike Foster, Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey and Sir Martin Davidson of the British Council.
Also present was Sports Minister Helen Grant MP, who took part in a special wreath-laying at the new memorial along with Forces representatives.
The FA chairman also added his own words of commemoration, and thanks The Duke for his continued support.
He said …
I was in Flanders on the actual site of one of the events of the 1914 Christmas Day Truce – the kickabout between British and German soldiers.
We were told the stories of what had happened that Christmas Day. How – amid the despair and destruction – the human spirit still flourished.
How men from both sides were able to overcome the nightmare of mass warfare and celebrate Christmas together with a drink, a chat and famously a game of football.
Predictably, the story goes, the Germans won on penalties.
I am delighted we are able to welcome the FA President here today, he has embraced this project from start to finish and understood just how football can play its part in preserving the most powerful of messages.
We are truly grateful for his support.”
thanks to the FA & Football Remembers websites for the pictures & information
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