Commonwealth Day was celebrated in Luton for the fourth successive year on Monday 13 March.
Community leaders, school children, representatives of Luton in Harmony
and the council were among those to join in with the day and celebrate this year’s theme, A Peace Building Commonwealth
At a time of increasing instability and uncertainty in the world, the Commonwealth family of nations in its rich diversity becomes an ever-more needed source of hope and strength for all of its members.
Starting the commemorations, the Commonwealth flag was raised and this was followed by an introduction from Lloyd Denny
, Chairman of Luton in Harmony. Pupils from Pirton Hill Primary School
then lit four candles as part of our tribute to the anniversary and centenary of the First World War before Deputy Lieutenant, Dr Nazia Khanum
, gave a brief address.
Deputy Mayor of Luton, Cllr Raja Saleem, then proceeded to give the Commonwealth affirmation; recognising diversity as a gift to humanity and the belief that there should be justice for everyone and peace between nations.
Shortly after this, Cllr Don Worlding, Armed Forces Champion, read an official introduction setting out the reason for the single commemorative act.
Following this, Cllr Raja Saleem, extinguished the four previously lit candles, leaving the room in shrouds of darkness to symbolise the feeling of darkness that came over Europe when the First World War commenced in 1914.
, from the Salvation Army
Band, then played the Last Post before the room fell silent for two minutes in order to remember those who had fought and lost their lives in conflicts.
Ending the silence, Revielle was played just before the eternal flame was lit by the Deputy Mayor and it will stay outside the town hall, until the next annual event, as a reminder 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 peace and understanding between people.
After the lighting of the Eternal Flame the ceremony commenced with a prayer from Revered Joe Pienaar before guests were invited to sign the Luton in Harmony pledge which asks people be friends with people of all backgrounds and promote their beliefs in a spirit of peace and harmony.
Cllr Tahir Khan, Mayor of Luton, said: “It was an honour to be part of this year’s Commonwealth event and remember those who have lost their lives in conflict. I would like to thank those who joined the event and I hope that people will continue to celebrate diversity and peace in the town and uphold the values of the Commonwealth.”
Commonwealth Day - Pirton Hill pupils with Llyod Denny, Chairman of Luton in Harmony