Last night I got the trundle truck out and went to the local market square for an hour long vigil to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War. About a hundred people gathered and the vicar and the Methodist minister led the tribute. Most of the time we were in silence but at each of the quarter hours there were short readings and a prayer before we all settled into silence again.
Everyone stood (except me as I was on my TT) and at the beginning I wondered how many would still be there in silence at eleven o’clock. Everyone stayed, except one child of about four who was brought to the front to honour the memorial and then taken home having said, “Bye bye”.
During the hour many people went and placed their candles and votive lights on the steps. It was a moving mixture of the formal and informal. Oddly I found the removal of lights from among the crowd more moving than the lights laid on the steps. It felt as though we had given up our young men and women, just as our grandparents gave up theirs.
My own grandfather served in that war as a musician and stretcher bearer. I don’t know what horrors he saw. He came home to his young wife and their two children, the younger of whom was my mother born just three weeks before he went to the front.
I’m glad I went to the market square last night.