Dromore’s war memorial was bathed in candlelight last monday as the town’s Royal British Legion branch led a vigil to mark Britain’s entry into the First World War 100 years ago.
Some 250-300 people turned out for the 10-11pm vigil, in respect for those men and women who lost their lives in what was supposed to be the war to end all wars.
Branch Chairman, Comrade Brian Hagan, welcomed those who came along, while Comrade Colin Ward explained the Lights Out initiative launched by the RBL and how Britain had come to be involved in the war.
Comrade Colin Cunningham read the names of local men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Comrade Sam Newell read Lt Col John McCraes poem “In Flanders Fields” and the reply to that poem by Moina Michael, entitled ‘Keep the Faith’, was read by Mr Ward.
Dromore Methodist Church’s Rev Colin Gracieand First Dromore Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church’s Rev. Sam Peden read from the Bible; the Rev Gorringe led the prayers and the Rev Trevor McKeown said the Benediction.
Skeogh Flute Band led the crowd in the hymn “Nearer my God to Thee” and played a selection of wartime tunes.
As the vigil drew to a close, the branch chairman said the Exhortation ahead of a two-minute silence and the Kohima Prayer.
During the Exhortation the candles were blown out to signify the lives ‘snuffed out’ in the war, while the LEgion’s candle remained lit throughout as a symbol of the glimmer of hope in the darkness of war. thanks went to all who had taken part, including local clergy and local businesses whose lights were switched off; to Skeogh Flute band, Banbridge District Council, Mr John Wallace, for use of a PA System and Mr Paul McFarland for photography.
Dromore Rbl is nextt planning a WW1 Commemoration Service in Dromore Cathedral at 11.30am on August 17.
Those taking part in the parade should meet no later than 10.30am on the Hillsborough Rd at the Masonic Hall.
TUV LAgan River representative Samuel Morrison, who took part on the night, hailed the vigil “an incredibly effective event “.
He added: “ It was the best remembrance event I have ever attended, a fitting way to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War and something which will live long in the memory of all those who attended it.
“Huge congratulations must go to Dromore British Legion for organising the event so well.”