Tuesday 21 May 2019

Remembering the fallen...

Special ceremony at the war memorial

Hubert Murphy

The hundreds of soldiers from the region who fought and died in World War I were remembered in a heartfelt ceremony at the Great War Memorial at the bottom of Mary Street on Saturday.

This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the day the guns fell silent and Saturday's ceremony focused on remembrance and thanksgiving and a hope of peace across the world.

Many people there had their personal memories, not least local poet Bridie Maxwell. Her husband, Paddy, attended the ceremony each year to honour his own links to the names etched on the cross.

He sadly passed away some months ago, but Bridie attended and paid tribute in true fashion, with words from the heart.

Jimmy Duffy told of the days when old soldiers would march in unison to the memorial. 'My grandfather, James McQuillan, fought', he stated.

He said the memorial should also honour the many who returned from the war and lived with the impact for the rest of their lives.

Fr Phil Gaffney, Rev Katherine Poulton and Archdeacon James Carroll concelebrated the ceremony and wreaths were laid by the likes of Mayor Godfrey, Col Darren Doherty of the British Army, Supt Andrew Watters, and representatives of other units and groups. Lucita Shorter also took part, in honour of her own descendants. The ONE provided the colour party.

Neil O'Kennedy, Maria Clarke, Hannah O'Brien, performing The Hills and Michael Holohan, drawing from the words of Francis Ledwidge, completed the ceremony. Later, Fiona Ahern from Bellewstown, gave a talk on the men of the region who took part in the war.

'We must remember the millions of soldiers and thousands of Irishmen - especially the 320 officers and men from Drogheda & District - who gave their lives during The Great War,' Mayor Godfrey remarked.

'We are proud of our local soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice and whose names are inscribed on the bronze panels of this memorial, erected in 1925 in their honour.

'The First World War was indeed a global conflict, but still one which has a local resonance, with names such as local poet Francis Ledwidge, lost in battle. The human impact of the conflict was enormous - and had its effects right here in Drogheda too.

'By laying a wreath annually, we honour their sacrifice - the ultimate sacrifice of their lives - and show solidarity with and support for their families, many of whom attend this ceremony each year.'

Drogheda Independent