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Why the UK Will Turn Off the Lights on Landmarks August 4

July 31, 2014 at 11:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

Travelers to the United Kingdom will be in for a surprise next Monday, August 4, when the country suddenly turns off the lights.

The Telegraph explains:

The Houses of Parliament, Blackpool Illuminations and Tower Bridge will go dark on August 4 to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

They are among hundreds of sites taking part in Lights Out, a Government-backed project aiming to achieve a nationwide switch-off from 10-11pm – the hour in which Britain declared itself at war with Germany 100 years ago.

The Foreign Office will leave a single lamp burning in a room overlooking the Cenotaph, and another in a room overlooking St James’s Park. The inspiration for the event is the remark made by Sir Edward Grey, foreign secretary, on August 3 1914.

Knowing that war was imminent, he gazed out at gas lamps being lit in St James’s Park and said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

While the Lights Out hour is designed to be a somber time of reflection for lives lost and the irreparable damage caused by World War, it is also, in its own way, a celebration of a country's solid nerve and determination through the first major war waged on land, sea, and air, around the world.

To put this into perspective. though 2014 marks the 100-year-anniversary of the 1914 start of the Great War, we won't commemorate the centenary of its 1918 end until 2018. Those 4 years saw more than 9 million people killed, political borders re-drawn, and the fomenting of other conflicts which continue to this day.

If you're in the UK on August 4, The Royal British Legion asks that you respect the Lights Out initiative and flip the switch from 10-11pm. Expect many hotels, selected businesses, and most major landmarks to observe the hour. When checking in a hotel next week, ask the front desk if they'll be observing Lights Out, and maybe save that nighttime tour of London for another eve.

[Photo: flatworldsedge]

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