Remembrance Day 2023
Remembrance Day 2023 took place on the Sunday before the 11th of November 2023.
In a solemn gathering at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary’s in Youghal, County Cork, on the 5th of November, 2023, the community came together for a Service of Remembrance and Commemoration. This special occasion marked the dedication of new plaques (naming those who died in the Great War or Work War One) in the church’s Memorial Chapel, which had been beautifully restored.
These plaques added the names of forty individuals to the previously installed panels, creating a lasting tribute to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
The ceremony began with a poignant procession led by Crucifer Eva O’Sullivan carrying the church’s processional cross followed by distinguished clergy members, Archdeacon Andrew Orr; Canon Peter Rys Thomas; Rev. Edwin Hunter and Canon Bill Bermingham P.P. A lone piper, Christy McCarthy from the Youghal Pipe Band with the colour party, carrying vibrant veteran flags, followed closely.
The service was led by Rev Andrew Orr. He began by offering a heartfelt prayer:
“We pray for those we shall never know but whose lives are linked with ours, whose shared ground we stand on and whose common air we breathe that they may find their rest and peace in You our God eternal.
We dedicate this memorial to the memory of all those who died in wars past, especially those from Youghal and surrounding areas, those whose names are remembered here and those whose names are known only to God.
May these memorials be a witness to lives given, a reminder to us and to future generations to work for peace and unity, built upon the sacrifice of those we honour here today, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
The Royal British Legion and the Youghal RNLI, dedicated to life-saving missions at sea, were both represented, underlining the unity of purpose in commemorating the sacrifices of those who had served. Ex-servicemen from the Royal Navy Association, Cork and County and Royal British Legion, Cork Branch were also standard bearers.
The church’s organist, Kevin O’Connell, provided a moving musical backdrop for the ceremony, while the enchanting voices of the choir filled the church with heartfelt songs, adding depth and solemnity to the occasion.
Members of the congregation stepped forward, laying poppy wreaths adorned with handwritten messages on the ground in front of the altar, each wreath a personal tribute to the heroes they had come to honor.
Representing the Irish Army were Corporal Charlie Bryan and his brother, Trooper Nathan Bryan, from the 1st Brigade at Collins Barracks in Cork. They stood as symbols of the dedicated Irish soldiers who have served on peacekeeping missions worldwide, upholding a proud tradition of uninterrupted peacekeeping service.
In a touching tribute, Norman MacDonald expressed his gratitude for the tireless efforts of the hardworking individuals in the Youghal community who had dedicated years to the creation of the commemorative panels. He recognised the instrumental role played by individuals like Billy Healy and David Kelly, whose unwavering commitment had been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition.
As the service drew to a close, a bugler played the poignant notes of the Last Post, a somber and soul-stirring tribute to the fallen heroes. Members of the congregation, gathered in prayer, read solemn prayers, and poignant poems of remembrance, including “In Flanders Fields,” further enriched the atmosphere with their deep reflection and respect.
Many family members of the departed, such as Mary Roch Perks, proudly adorned their fathers’ medals, paying homage to the courageous ancestors who had served their nation with honor and valor.
As the ceremony neared its conclusion, a poignant verse from the timeless poem “For The Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon resonated:
“While we age, they shall forever remain young,
Time cannot erode their valor, nor years dim their memory.
With each sunset and the birth of a new day,
In our hearts, they stay, never to be forgotten.”
These lines of the poem took on added poignancy as the evening’s setting sun cast long shadows, stretching from the silhouetted crosses in the church graveyard, creating a solemn and reverent backdrop to the conclusion of the occasion.
After the moving ceremony, Archdeacon Andrew Orr expressed his sentiments, acknowledging the significance of November as a month for remembrance. He reflected on the Roll of Honour, emphasizing the poignancy of hearing familiar surnames like Brennan, Lynch, O’Brien, and many others from the town, underlining the tremendous loss suffered by the community of Youghal, as it mourned the loss of so many young men.
Research | Photo | Archived by Michael Hussey
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