Never Forget. Always Remember.

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Megan visits the Shrouds Of The Somme exhibit and thinks about what a mass loss of life means.

The 19,240 shrouds, 12 inches, small and fragile.

Friday 11th, November 2016. College Green. I took a moment before work on Armistice Day to walk around the ‘Shrouds of the Somme’.

Today immediate media, breaking headlines go straight to our devices. Nothing censored. A river of flowing news, never ending day after day, stories of crime, terror and horror just a click away. Magnitude and size lost by the continuous barrage, numb to world news. Whatever happens you just carry on.

The 19,240 shrouds, 12 inches, small and fragile. Each one representing a life lost. Each one, from day one – the first day of the Battle of the Somme. 100 years ago this year, 1st July 1916, a century on and in terms of the age of the Earth just a breath away.

Each silent visitor to College Green that morning faced this struggle.

I moved around the picnic green turned art installation, the lines upon lines, figure after figure, number after number. 19,240. The cost of life. 19,240 individuals stopped being a number, it became human. I felt the tears, 19,240 the number will never be easy to say again. The tears fell, I wasn’t the only one. Each silent visitor to College Green that morning faced this struggle.

Full of Sorrow, grief for the soldiers, for the boys and men, for their families, ones left behind and ones that will never be. The lists of names, each name became a shroud and now each shroud I’d passed row on row, became a name, a person. Automatically I found myself looking up my family name. I don’t know if they’re a relation or not but reading their first names; William, Arthur, Matthew brought everything home.

The battle of the Somme, became one of the bloodiest in history finally ending on 18th November 1916, in total 1,110,000 soldiers were wounded or killed. I don’t think we should forget.

If you want to make thought-provoking art, check out these arts opportunities on the Rife Guide