Friday, 17 September 2021

Moment of darkness at town hall for WWI

FOUR candles were extinguished at Henley town hall to symbolise the darkness that fell over Europe during the First World War

FOUR candles were extinguished at Henley town hall to symbolise the darkness that fell over Europe during the First World War.

Henley Mayor Martin Akehurst performed the commemorative act before a two-minute silence.

Monday?s ceremony was one of many that took place simultaneously at town halls across the country.

Councillor Akehurst told guests gathered in the Mayor?s parlour: ?By extinguishing the candles we are symbolically representing the feeling of darkness that came over Europe 100 years ago.

?In 2018, after the annual candle is extinguished and a brief period of darkness, this room will be lit by the lighting of all four candles - this symbolic gesture will represent ultimately how light won through the darkness.

?Today we will light the first candle and this will remain alight for the next 12 months as a reminder to all who see it, not only of the sacrifices made during the past 100 years through conflicts in which this country has been involved, but also as a symbol of hope that we will work towards understanding between peoples.?

Rev Canon Martyn Griffiths, rector of St Mary's Church, Henley, said: ?We are, of course, remembering all those who left these shores and never returned, those who died in four years of warfare.

?We remember and pray for all those they left behind - their families and sweethearts.?

The Mayor read the poem 1914 by Wilfred Owen before John Green, chairman of the Henley and Peppard branch of the Royal British Legion, read another, Anthem For Doomed Youth.

Mr Green said: ?Those who forget history live to see it repeated. It's our duty to pass down to our own children and grandchildren the significance of these events that shaped a nation.?

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