Today I took part in the Armistice Day Centenary Event in Sligo. This event was a collaboration between historian Simone Hickey and the Blue Raincoat Theatre. 609 people volunteered to walk on behalf of the people from County Sligo who lost their lives in the Great War.
I took part because my Granddad was one of those who was sent to war. He was one of the lucky ones, he came home, others weren’t so lucky. This silent walk was to remember those poor souls.
It was extremely moving to be part of such an event. I was given the name of Private Patrick Brennan from Lavagh, Mullinabreena, he died in France in 1916. I’d like to find out more about him so that he’ll always be remembered.
At 11.11 am after a two minute silence we made our way through Sligo Town until we got to the war memorial on Mail Coach Road. As we moved through the streets I thought of Patrick and also my Granddad. My mother told me my Granddad never spoke in depth about what he saw in the war, he couldn’t, he did tell her that he saw things that no one should have to see, suffering beyond belief and it emotionally scarred him for life.
It was very poignant walking down O’Connell Street in silence, heading towards the light and thinking of those who gone before us. Members of the public joined us in our walk. All ages, all walks of life, all remembering.
When we got to the memorial we heard some of the letters sent home, it was so emotional, the words being read, the crows overhead, apart from that the silence from everyone. I was humbled and moved. As the lone bugle played the Last Stand even the crows silenced their cries. It was a quiet crowd who moved away.
Lest we forget.