At 10pm on 4 August, Rochdale will be plunged into darkness as council buildings, homes and businesses take part in LIGHTS OUT – a nationwide event to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
Councillor Alan McCarthy, Rochdale Borough Council’s Armed Forces Lead, said: “August 4 is exactly 100 years since the outbreak of ‘The Great War’ and it is important that we all take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom. All of Rochdale’s public buildings will be taking part in the event and I would encourage all of our businesses and residents to share in this moment of reflection with us.”
Everyone in the UK is invited to take part in LIGHTS OUT by turning off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on 4 August, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection. People can take part in whatever way they choose, marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War either individually or by attending one of the many events being organised around the country for a collective experience.
LIGHTS OUT is the headline project of 14-18 NOW, the official cultural programme for the First World War Centenary Commemorations.
The inspiration for LIGHTS OUT comes from a famous remark made on the eve of the outbreak of war by the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”. Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm on 4 August 1914 ushering in one of the darkest periods in our history.
Signing up to the LIGHTS OUT initiative is just one of a whole host of commemorative events planned by Rochdale Borough Council for this summer.
The famous Todmorden to Rochdale march by the Lancashire Fusiliers will be re-enacted on August 10, while the Corps of Drums will have a dedicated stand at Rochdale Feel Good Festival.
Acting Chief Executive, Linda Fisher said “The Great War affected the lives of many families in Rochdale borough so it’s important that we reflect and remember the huge sacrifices of our Armed Forces and their loved ones. We have a fantastic programme of commemorative events planned and I hope everyone will get involved during this important year.”
The council signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012 – a statement of support between a civilian community and its Armed Forces community. But actions speak much louder, and Rochdale has been nationally recognised by the Ministry of Defence, Royal British Legion and others for introducing pioneering changes to support armed forces personnel and their families back into civilian life.
For more information on Armed Forces events, World War One commemorations, or about signing the covenant visit www.rochdale.gov.uk/armedforces, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01706 926989.
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