THE Church of Ireland has organised a number of events to mark Armistice Day, this Sunday, November 11th.
Bishop Paul Colton is making a gift of an olive tree (as a symbol of peace) to each school in the diocese, and materials for a special school assembly of remembrance with prayers for peace have been prepared by Jacqui Wilkinson.
Bishop Colton said he was given the idea of the olive tree by Eunice Jeffers in Dunmanway, who is one of the people involved in the diocese’s Centenaries Commemoration and Reconciliation Project.
The trees, sourced by Olive Burns, were delivered earlier this week. In addition, students are being encouraged to look for war memorials in their churches and communities, and to find out about the people being commemorated.
Alternatively, the suggestion is that children research flags and badges around the world that incorporate the olive branch, or that they research the story behind the flag of the United Nations.
Students are asked to find out what the Quakers teach about war and peace, and to look into some of the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Prayers will be written for use at the assemblies, and a reading list for children about current areas of conflict in the world is suggested. Bishop Colton will visit a number of the schools to attend those assemblies.
Most of the schools are holding their special assemblies this Friday morning, November 9th.
‘Unlike other parts of the world, and indeed some other counties in Ireland, in Cork,’ said Bishop Colton, ‘there is no one memorial to all of the people – approximately 4,200 of them – from our city and county who died in the First World War.’
This set the Bishop thinking and so he came up with the idea, for this centenary commemoration, of the telegram – the means by which so many received the devastating news of the loss of their loved one. The Bishop has had 4,200 blank facsimile telegrams printed.
Bandon Grammar School students, along with two other schools in Cork – with the support of school chaplains and history teachers, will write one name on each of the 4,200 telegrams of a Cork person who died in WWI. Bishop Colton will be visiting the students in some of the schools to see the work in progress.
On Sunday, November 11th there will be special services throughout Cork, Cloyne and Ross.
In St Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork on each of the four minutes (one for each year of the First World War) before 11am, a bell will ring once and silence will be kept. At 11am the traditional two minutes’ silence will be kept following which, at 11.02am the bells of the Cathedral will ring out.
Meanwhile, Camden Fort Meagher held a ceremony on Sunday to mark the anniversary and also opened a Memorial Room dedicated to the 18 Irish Regiments and three Irish divisions who fought in WW1.
The event was attended by Tanaiste Simon Coveney, the Ambassadors of France, Britain and Germany, the Belgian Honorary Consul, the County Mayor, members of the Defence Forces, clergy, veterans groups and descendants of those who perished.
The memorial room is unique in both Ireland the UK in that it records the history of all the Irish Regiments in one location. It features 18 specially designed Regimental Memorial Flags, along with three others representing the Irish divisions, as well as a research facility which the public can access.
There’s also a Garden of Remembrance which consists of 400 miniature crosses of remembrance.