Right from the declaration of war on 4 August 1914 to the capital's occupation on the 20th of the same month, many men and women in Brussels worked in the medical services set up to receive the wounded from the Front, from the provinces of Antwerp and Liege.
Later, under the city's occupation, patriotic commitment was demonstrated by the extraordinary support of a plethora of self-organised operations, overcoming all philosophical, social and political divides.
These involved supporting the needs of refugees who had fled the invasion, organising the distribution of basic supplies under the supervision of the Comité National de Secours et d'Alimentation, taking care of and protecting children, and writing to soldiers on the Front or supporting their families.
Patriotic support also took other forms, particularly the distribution and discreet sale of small objects (crayons, buttons, porcelain figures, etc.) bearing the banned national colours or expressing the population's support of the royal family and the Allies.