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  Madrid train bombings
Updated 22 March 2004, 17.16
People light candles for the victims of the attack on intercity trains and train stations in Madrid

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Dealing with loss

The people of Madrid created a spontaneous memorial to those killed in a bomb attack on the city's commuter trains.

Students discuss the value of memorials and design their own to commemorate those killed in Madrid.

Learning aims

  • How memorials help grieving.

  • Different types of memorial.
A woman lights a candle in a tribute to the victims
Read Adam Fleming's report 'I could feel the sadness of the city'

Ask the class:

  • Why do people make memorials and tributes?

  • How does a memorial service help with grieving?

  • What different types of memorial can you think of?

    Gravestones, war monuments, places where famous people lived etc

  • What might be a fitting permanent memorial for the victims of the Madrid train bombings?
Present and discuss some of the memorial ideas that can be found in the Teachers' Background.

Main activity
Design a fitting memorial for those killed in the Madrid blasts and/or write a poem to remember the events.

Ideas might include:

  • A statue representing the victims
  • A symbol of hope
  • A monument that shows how the Spanish people's spirit remains strong
  • A peace park
Students should include an explanation of the thinking behind their design.

Extension activity
Construct a model of their memorial.

Limit the size of the models (about 30cm in height should be fine) so that the ideas can be displayed more easily.

Students present their ideas and/or poems and give their reasons for their designs.

Teachers' Background

  • A series of explosions hit three train stations in Madrid at morning rush hour on Thursday 11 March 2004. Over 200 people were killed and around 1,500 people were injured. The bombs hit the stations of Atocha - a main transport hub, El Pozo del Tio Raimundo and Santa Eugenia.

  • Investigators have said there were 10 blasts. The bombs, in rucksacks, each contained about 10 kg (22 lb) of explosives.

  • The March 2004 bombings in Madrid are the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 when 259 crew and passengers were killed along with 11 people from Lockerbie. They came two and a half years after the September 11 attacks in the US.

  • On Friday 12 March 2004 eleven million Spaniards went out onto the streets to demonstrate against terrorism and show their solidarity with the victims of the bombings and their families.

Other memorials around the world:

Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park

  • It contains very moving displays of the effects of the atomic bombing.

  • In front of the building is a statue called Mother and Child in the Storm and the Fountain of Prayer.

  • Colourful origami cranes are left on most of the memorials, monuments and statues in the park as a symbol of visitors' wish for Peace.
Washington DC World War II Memorial
  • Consists of the Rainbow Pool surrounded in a circular pattern with 56 pillars to represent the unity of the US states and territories during the war.

  • Visitors will enter the sunken plaza on ramps which will pass by two giant arches that represent the two fronts of the war.

  • Inside there will be a Freedom Wall covered with 4,000 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans that died during World War II.

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
PicturesMillions protest in Spain
Find OutWhat is Terrorism?
ClubMy country is shocked by the bombs


BBC Links
Pictures of three minute silence



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