Monday, 4 August 2014

Lights Out - As The World Remembers

Lights Out - Remembering with a Candle in the Darkness
Image courtesy of ID-100158085

At 11:00 pm on August 4, 1914 (100 years ago today) Britain declared war on Germany. Today from 10:00 - 11:00 pm the United Kingdom (and much of world) will remember the start of what is often called "the Great War"or "the war to end all wars." For those who had family members who served, who have read their history and understand what took place for four long years as battles stretched out over much of Europe, World War I was neither great nor unfortunately did it end all wars. It is fitting that we remember this terrible tragedy and realize that when countries overreach, when leaders refuse to talk, and when parties to a conflict choose to fight rather than attempt to resolve their issues, lives are lost, individuals are harmed, families are shattered, and communities and countries are decimated. War is sometimes necessary, but it should always be a last resort, not a first impulse.

The point of remembrance is to appreciate individual sacrifice and learn lessons from our shared history. Unfortunately, it seems that our world and many people in it refuse to learn these lessons. Today we will have a visual reminder with the Lights Out project, a cultural program taking place across the United Kingdom to mark the centenary of World War I. In addition, at the Tower of London, there is a display of a sea of poppies to honor the fallen. When completed, it will include 888,246 ceramic poppies.

Today the countries that were on opposing sides in World War I are allies and friends. Would that today's enemies and combatants learn those hard fought lessons of respect and tolerance. Would that we all hold life more dear than power, land, or being right and demand that our leaders are thoughtful and circumspect in international dealings.

Have you been to to the Tower of London to see the "sea of poppies?"
Did you participate in the Lights Out project?
Are you remembering the men and women who served in World War I through any of the special projects?
If you are engaged in a one-name study, have you included those who served in your study?
If you are engaged in a one-place study, have you found those who served from your place?

Take some time to remember how the world changed as a result of World War I and how those changes have affected your family and your family history (on the local and global scale).

Poppies for Remembrance - WWI
Image courtesy of ID1006691

Tessa Keough


  1. We participated, although I did not leave the candle burnings whilst we were asleep! For my One Name Study I have been collating any records to either of my registered names (Orlando & Worship). In the Great War Italy was an allied nation (not so in the Second World War).

    I have been extracting the soldiers for the my three One Place Studies - One of my studies relates to a road, there were 9 fatalities during the Great War, nine seems so many and is truly overwhelming.

    For al the specific studies is a slow process and I plan to roll out, across the four years a biography of the men (and women) who link in with the locations and surnames.

    I also wrote a small post honouring my Grandfather's first Cousin - William James West who was just 20 years old when he died in September 1918.

    I heard on the news yesterday where it was stated that whilst we can not remember, we must never forget, and isn't that the truth.

  2. Julie - it sounds like you are hard at work "remembering" and publishing those remembrances for future generations.


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