Let there be peace on earth

For the past two years, the Russellville Cultura Garden Club has received top recognition in the state, the Dorothy Speir Parrish award, for its superior Every Light a Prayer for Peace ceremony. This year’s event, set for tomorrow, again promises a top-notch observance dedicated to engendering peace in the world.

The annual Every Light a Prayer for Peace ceremony will take place on the steps of the Franklin County Courthouse in Russellville Dec. 1, at 4:30 p.m.

The ceremony began as a way to remember and honor active military and veterans who have fought to bring peace to the nation, to both celebrate that peace and pray for it to continue. The local observance is coordinated by Susie Malone, Every Light a Prayer for Peace chairperson.

Every Light a Prayer for Peace is observed statewide, coordinated in Alabama by Alabama Garden Clubs throughout the state. It has been celebrated since its inception Dec. 1, 1951, during the Korean War, instituted by Alabamian Dorothy spear Parrish with a special tree lighting ceremony. The program was adopted by the Federated Garden Clubs of Alabama in 1954. The songs, prayers, devotion and candle-lighting service honor the many who make sacrifices for peace.

“We’ve decorated the courthouse, so it’s always a beautiful setting,” said club president Martha Sibley.

The official ceremony will be preceded by a special reception for all veterans and active military and their families, from 3:30-4:15 p.m., inside the courthouse, co-presented by the garden club and Study Club. The reception will offer time to mix and mingle, along with refreshments. A place of honor at the peace ceremony will be offered to the veterans in attendance.

The street in front of the courthouse will be blocked off prior to the ceremony, and citizens should not park in that area to make room for the attendees at the ceremony.

Choruses from Russellville City Schools will perform as part of the Every Light a Prayer for Peace ceremony. The high school JROTC will present the colors. Special guests this year will be all Russellville first responders, including RPD Chaplain Bobby Brown, who will share a message about peace with all those in attendance. Russellville’s Kim Clonts, a former Miss RHS and runner-up Miss Alabama, will sing the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which immediately precedes the Russellville Christmas parade.