British residents will be asked to turn off the lights on 4 August this year to mark the first world war centenary.
Maria Miller, culture secretary, announced today that households across Britain will be asked to turn off lights at 11pm on the 4th August 2014. This is to mark the first world war centenary, it is hoped that people in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will participate to make this an incredibly significant event.
This is the centrepiece, officially titled Lights Out, of the centenary commemorations which are part of the 14-18
Now programme – a series of events to remember the sacrifices of everyone involved in the first world war. The National Lottery have provided £10 million in funding to complete these events. This programme covers three main elements of the first world war centenary; the declaration and first day of war, the Battle of the Somme, and the armistice – beginning in August 2014 with the declaration and ending 11 November with the armistice.
In the announcement Miller had this to say: “The 14-18 Now cultural programme will help all of us to pause in remembrance and to understand the resonance of the First World War today.”
Additional events with the 14-18 programme include; Shot at Dawn will present photographs of where deserters were executed, and Charlie Ward will show Charlie Chaplin short films on the ceiling of hospitals while visitors are in the beds as wounded servicemen would have been.
The Lights Out event specifically echos the famous words of the then foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey, on the event of the conflict. When Germany declared war on France on 3 August 1914 the foreign secretary was watching lamps being lit outside the window and said to a friend: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”
For more information about the 14-18 Now programme and the Lights Out event, please visit the 14-18 Now website.