Flying the flag for the Commonwealth

  |  Published: Mar 14th 2015
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Buckinghamshire joined more than 730 communities around the world in raising the Commonwealth Flag this morning (Monday March 9).

Witnessed by shoppers, visitors and office workers, the Commonwealth Day ceremony outside Old County Hall in Market Square, Aylesbury, was led by County Council Chairman Zahir Mohammed, Leader Martin Tett, and Lord Lieutenant Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher. It's the second year the shared global celebration of friendship and co-operation has been held.

The Chairman read the Commonwealth Affirmation, Martin Tett read a message from Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, and Sir Henry a message from The Queen. Bugler Max Farmer, a student at Mandeville School, Aylesbury, played a fanfare while Windol Williams, a security officer of the County Council, raised the flag. 

Sir Henry said: ‘Today (Mon Mar 9) we’ve been proud to be part of an historic moment to mark Commonwealth Day. It gives the community the opportunity to express appreciation for the Commonwealth, and the values of co-operation and understanding between our nations.’

Afterwards, in Old County Hall, where four candles had been lit, guests took part in a Single Commemorative Act marking the centenary of World War 1.

Zahir explained a single candle would remain lit throughout the year. 'It's a reminder not only of the sacrifices made during the past 100 years through conflicts in which this country has been involved but also as a symbol of hope that we will work towards understanding between peoples,' he said.
 
The candles were extinguished symbolically, representing the feeling of darkness that came over Europe 100 years ago, and echoing the words of Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, at the time Britain officially entered World War 1: 'The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.'

After short period of silence, the Chairman relit one candle, and Chief Executive Chris Williams read the World War 1 poem, In Flanders Field, by Canadian military medic Major John McCrae.

Every Civic Head in the United Kingdom was invited to take part in a similar commemorative act simultaneously.

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