Different cultures unite in remembrance of the Great War
A century ago, the First World War began, and what followed was more than four years of horrific conflict before a resolution finally came about in 1918.
Despite the brutality and amidst the battles, one act of humanity stood out above the rest in that first year of war, as the Christmas Day Truce of 1914 was honoured by soldiers on both sides of the battlefield.
German and allied troops emerged from the trenches to speak with the men they had been at war with for the past year, exchanging gifts in a day where no conflict was seen.
Last week, on Friday 12th December, this moment in history was remembered at a special event in York’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with a community event taking place to honour that occasion.
Carols, hymns and anthems from the era were sung by those in attendance whilst footage from the years of war, with narration and letters were also on show.
During the event, there were collections for the British Red Cross with volunteers on hand to collect the donations, and joining the volunteers this year were members of Yorkshire’s ‘Muslims for Humanity’.
An initiative run by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA), the group helped raise hundreds of pounds throughout the day of remembrance.
Kamal Aftab, the Regional AMYA Youth Leader, said the Christmas Truce of 1914 was an ‘important’ occasion.
He said: “Events such as these are important so that we can all effectively create a more tolerant, respectful and peaceful society to live in and foster greater relationships in promoting harmony, understanding religious and cultural values and creating community cohesion.
“Touching film footage, narration, and letters from the front revealed that even in a nation’s darkest hour, patriotism, tenderness and hope shines through.
“Last week was another opportunity for communities to come together, reflect on the past and learn vital lessons for the future.”
Max Newton, senior community fundraiser from the BRC, praised the efforts of the AMYA volunteers and thanked all the members for their time.
He added: “It was fantastic to work with the AMYA again. They’re brilliant and enabled us to raise a good amount of money for the work of Red Cross, as well as representing at this tremendous event to commemorate the Christmas Truce.”