We’re all affected by events a century ago
Monday marked 100 years since the start of the First World War. People across the country came together to pay their respects to the fallen and remember the carnage and brutality of the four-year conflict. Services were held, wreaths were laid and candles were lit in homage to the 17 million soldiers and civilians who died between 1914 and 1918. Prince Harry visited Kent, officially opening the biggest permanent structure marking the centenary in the county, the Step Short arch. Further to this, millions also took part in the poignant Lights Out on Monday night, which nodded to the words of wartime Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, who said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” Households and public buildings – including 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament – switched off their lights for an hour of reflection. Some feared that by marking the centenary we would be in danger of celebrating or glorifying the war. However, this couldn’t be further from the case. It was hard not to become emotional listening to people speaking of their relatives who fought, or watching our serving soldiers marching in the footsteps previously taken by men on the way to the Western Front, many of whom were unlikely to return. By marking the 100th anniversary, we remember those who died and honour their sacrifice.