'Ghost' soldiers bring U.K. to standstill with moving WW1 tribute

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An incredibly moving, sobering story out of the United Kingdom today.

Hundreds of volunteers dressed up as "ghost soldiers," walking silently through crowded train stations, public parks, shopping centers and streets to honor the nearly 20,000 British soldiers killed 100 years ago today.

July 1, 1916, was the first day of World War I's Battle of the Somme, and stands as the bloodiest day in British military history. 19,240 British soldiers were killed while storming Germans troops along the Somme River in France, the project website says. French troops were also part of the offensive.

The Battle of the Somme lasted five months. More than 1 million people were killed or wounded.

'we're here because we're here'


To honor those lives lost one century later, more than 1,400 people donned historically accurate World War I uniforms, representing the 15 regiments that saw losses, for a commissioned art project called "we're here because we're here."

The "ghost soldiers" didn't speak, but would occasionally sing "We're here because we're here," which soldiers would sing in the trenches during World War I. Listen here:


The volunteers also handed out cards to people who approached, detailing the name of the soldier they represented, their regiment, and if known, how old the soldier was.


The whole thing is incredibly moving, with reports of people crying and becoming choked up at the gesture. People have been posting photos to social media with the #wearehere hashtag.







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