‘The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.’
It was on the eve of August 4, 1914 that the foreign secretary of the time, Sir Edward Grey, uttered these words as Britain officially entered the First World War. Exactly 100 years later The Royal British Legion is inviting millions of individuals, households and companies to join together in a national moment of reflection.
Lights Out is an initiative encouraging everyone in the UK to turn off their lights between 10pm and 11pm on August 4, 2014 – leaving only a single light or candle for this symbolic act of reflection and hope. On that night we will remember more than a million Commonwealth Service personnel who lost their lives in the First World War.
The vision is to have candles being lit at every single war memorial, community centre and home all over Great Britain so that more than one million candles will be lit to commemorate servicemen and women who lost their lives. Centenary candles will also be available from M&S stores from July 4 for £4, with all profits going to The Royal British Legion.
Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said: ‘It’s so important that we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. I would encourage everyone to take part in this initiative.’
Noreen Stoat, chairperson of the Portsmouth branch of the Royal British Legion, said: ‘Everything we do is to commemorate those who have lost their lives, injured or just gone through the war.
‘We are saying thank you to them for what they have done.’
Lights Out is the headline project of the cultural programme 14-18 NOW and was initiated by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. 14-18 NOW is a curated programme of new art works across the UK that forms part of the official commemorations of the Centenary of the First World War.