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Russellville lights candle for peace

“In the darkened night a candle glows, then another’s lit and so it goes. Candles lit by human hand glowing bright across our land.”

Residents of Franklin County echoed the words of Milly Patzer’s poem Dec. 5 as Russellville took a moment to reflect on the world with the annual Every Light a Prayer for Peace ceremony sponsored by the Cultura Garden Club.

Club secretary Sherry James told of the history of the event and its impact. After the bombing at Pearl Harbor, America entered World War II, and Christmas lights across the world went out for fear of bombings. Years later, when America entered Korea, lights again went out.

“At that time, our nation was brought into war again, and people no longer focused on stringing tree lights,” James said. “Lights went out across the world but also in the hearts of many.”

In 1951 an Alabama woman established a tree lighting in her town where people could gather and light a candle in remembrance of those fighting on foreign soil.

“As nations continue to be in conflict today, we remember and honor those brave men and women who are serving this country all around the world. We pray for them to return to us as we continue a tradition to remember them at this 68th Light a Prayer for Peace ceremony.”

Branches Church youth minister Richard Parker presented the prayer for peace message for the evening, with a focus on peace beginning with each individual.

“Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on Earth – a peace that was meant to be,” Parker said, quoting Harry Connick Jr. “You can find peace. There is peace, and there is hope, that begins with God.”

The Russellville High School JROTC presented the colors, and this year’s Franklin County Distinguished Young Woman Bailey Bolton sang the National Anthem.

Russellville’s chorus provided the entertainment for the night, with the fifth-grade chorus singing “Miracle of Lights,” the high school ensemble singing “O Holy Night” and the middle school chorus performing “Angels Among Us.”

The combined choruses performed “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and students from the Russellville High School drama department read the “Light a Candle” poem by Matzer.