Letter to an Unknown Soldier

In this year marking the centenary of the First World War there’s a great project that some of you may like to partake in.

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The Letter to an Unknown Soldier is an art project which invites the public to write a letter to an unknown solider. It can be about anything that you feel you would like to express – a familial story, an imagined letter from a sweetheart or a review of what we have learned about war since then. Then upload the letter to the website. The site will remain open until 11 p.m. on the night of 4 August 2014. This time marks the centenary of the moment when Prime Minister Asquith announced to the House of Commons that Britain had joined the First World War. After this the letters will be archived online by the British Library.

More info can be found here

I think this is a great idea and I’ve already submitted my letter. Which I’ve posted below for you all to read.

 

 

To an Unknown Solider,

I’m writing this on a train. I had meant to sit and write this peacefully at my dining room table, taking a few brief organised moments to reflect on you and your war and your sacrifice. But that didn’t happen because this world is busy. My world is busy, chaotically busy. But my world is peacefully chaotically busy. Sitting across from me is a lady with a cup of coffee in her hand. The steam raises and twirls in the rattling carriage. I think of your fingers, frozen and bent. Hunched in the winter night, roaring guns and shuddering bones. What relief a good cup of coffee would have been to you. It’s warmth as you held it, sipped and swallowed. Filling for a moment the hollow form in the uniform. Now I can smell it, so familiar to me – rich, nutty and transportive, to a world of soft sofas and Sunday morning newspaper reading. In my world we call a cup of coffee a ‘little luxury’. We buy overpriced cups topped with creamy foam and chocolate dust (sometimes in the form of a heart) because we’ve earned a little treat. We made it through that boring meeting, or our gym session, or its Friday and we all deserve extra love on a Friday.  This is my world – full of daily luxuries. It’s not like this for everyone. Somewhere in this world someone would still grasp a cup of coffee as you may have done, as if it were life itself. But my world, my world that I ride this train through is not that brutal. It is safe and warm and full of luxuries because of you. Thank you seems feeble, but it is sincere.

A very grateful woman on a train.

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