Like many other people around Europe on Monday night, I put all the lights out, and lit a single candle in commemoration of the beginning of World War I.
The BBC were broadcasting a special programme showing the commemorations at various places around the UK, with youngsters who had prepared their flowers and other things to display standing alongside old soldiers who were standing in solidarity with their fallen comrades. Whilst there is no-one left alive who fought in World War I, many people were interviewed who had fathers, uncles, grandfathers etc that served in that war. One common thread through all the interviews was people saying of their relatives “they hardly ever spoke about it” – demonstrating the unspeakable horrors they must have seen, and how they didn’t want to dwell on the past.
As we moved up towards 10.00pm, and the beginning of the service at Westminster Abbey focusing on the grave of the Unknown Warrior, we saw lights going out all over the country, from a village in Derbyshire, to Tower Bridge, to the Houses of Parliament, and many other places in between.
Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, we were able to hear from some men who fought in the Great War, we only heard a few sentences from a few men, but it was a poignant moment.
Unfortunately, there was little chance of being able to stay awake to watch the service live, we recorded it for future viewing.
We kept the light off as we went upstairs and got ready for bed – a little strange not to have even a bedside light on, and it made me think further about what we were commemorating.
I had a tear in my eye as I silently asked God why we are still fighting each other, and asked why there can’t be peace in the world. I still don’t know the answer.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.