Dr Caroline Winter
November 11, at 11.00am in 1918, signalled the end of the war and the beginning of memory, with death and grief continuing for many years afterwards. Today, state ceremonies designed to remember the war are carefully arranged in time and space in order to resonate with the events of the past, if only for short moments. In the cemeteries and along the old trench lines however, the dead are forever present, and the hashtag of Somme Tourisme reminds us, that on the battlefields, ‘#RemembranceisEveryday’.
Many people are involved in both paid and voluntary work on a continuous basis throughout the year, and in a range of institutions, to enable the commemorative experiences of others. Through participant observation and brief interviews, I will investigate some of the work that goes on ‘behind the scenes’, during the days surrounding the official November 11 ceremonies in 2018. I will spend time with two or three local ‘memory workers’ in a small village on the Somme, France, to record their experiences (and mine), to illustrate the ongoing commemorative acts that occur in these villages. I will also record other activities at the several memorials in the village and surrounding towns and villages.