A Candlelight Service Remembering WWI
On our second evening in Bath, England, Dave and I had the honor and privilege of attending a candlelight service in Bath Abbey commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI. The service ran simultaneously with a candlelight service at Westminster Abbey and was one we will long remember.
Before the service began, a candle was passed from person to person in each pew so that the whole cathedral was a thousand pinpoints of light. The service included readings, prayers, hymns, and letters written during the war. These readings, particularly the letters, told of the horrors of war, the fear of the men, and the anguish felt by those left behind. Following each reading, the lights faded into darkness lit only by candles for a time of silent prayer and reflection.
At 10:50 pm, all of the UK were asked to turn off their lights to honor the men. One by one we blew out our candles until only one boy at the altar was left. All eyes gazed in his direction. He paused for a moment and extinguished the final flame casting the cathedral into total darkness.
Singing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" symbolizing the men leaving for war, the choir filed down through the nave and out into the courtyard where their faint voices echoed back in the distance.
In total darkness and in stunned silence not a sound could be heard, not one. Slowly 1,000 people filed out and disappeared into the night. As for me, I never knew my grandparents or their stories, or if they served in WWI, but our lives will be forever touched by what we experienced that night.
(Photo taken at a special WWI exhibit in Bath)