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2000: 'The sky was ablaze'

It was the biggest party the world had ever seen - around the globe star-studded gigs and spectacular fireworks entertained billions of people seeing in the New Millennium.

In Washington, President Clinton was a guest at an outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

In Egypt, floodlights lit up the ancient pyramids of Giza as French composer Jean-Michel Jarre performed his epic Twelve Dreams of the Sun electronic opera.

In London two million people lined the River Thames to watch a spectacular fireworks display. The Queen, Prime Minister Tony Blair and other VIPs went to a special concert at the newly opened Millennium Dome in Greenwich.

Your memories

I was 13 at the time. My parents and I went to London to see the monster celebrations there.

We stood on Waterloo Bridge from five in the afternoon to make sure we had a good view of the show. My feet were killing me, but it was worth it!

The fireworks were awesome! It was an experience I will never forget as long as I live.
Alex Prior, UK

I can never forget seeing just so many fireworks being let off at the same time! The sky was ablaze!

It now seems such a shame that all that excitement and great expectation of the New Millennium has sadly not lived up to what we all were hoping it would be?
Chris, UK

I saw the New Millennium in on the beach in Mexico with loads of other revellers.

That morning on the beach I defied all advice for taking photos and as the sun rose of that New Millenium I took some of the most amazing pictures of a sunrise ever.
James, UK

I was living in the village of Bontnewydd (some four degrees west of Greenwich) and noted that we would enter the Millennium 16 minutes after Greenwich.

Sure enough at 12.16am GMT my grandparents and myself could see fireworks launching from the nearby hills and a few moments later from Tregardon (celebrating 20 minutes after Greenwich).
Harry Hayfield, Wales

I was 12 years old as the bells tolled on the millennium.

It was an odd feeling as there was so much expectation and hype about the Millennium that no-one knew if we were going to disappear, if the clocks would stop, the TV would turn off.

And so when it was all ok and everything went unchanged I realised I was 12 and another year older. But to have my birthday on such a special day in history is something I will never forget.

The Millennium was a crazy time with so much going on and so much happening that everyone was in a frenzy. What a day!
Douglas Reid, Scotland

I was in Sydney at the time and wouldn't have been anywhere else! The hundreds of boats on the harbour and the incredible fireworks off Sydney Harbour Bridge made it a night to remember always!
Matt Swanton, Reading

Don't presume this'll be published, but just thought you might like a different perspective:

The Millennium itself was a study in hype which saw various people reverting to type, and though everyones' expectations were ripe, it was just another day.

We were warned of the bug by a number of [geeks], it'd make systems crash and pull all sorts of tricks, but I mashed with the lads and stayed up 'til gone six. (It was just another day.)

All over the world folks were having a ball from Sydney to Rome to the old Berlin Wall. But the cash that was wasted just makes my skin crawl. It was just another day.

And so at the next time of goodwill to men (no matter what might be going down then) we'll go through the whole damn palaver again, though it's just another day.
Martin Jones, Germany

I just thought it was one big day really but it was a good year for me personally as I celebrated my 40th birthday in May 2000.
Amanda Cerasale

I stood with my close family and friends on London Bridge for five hours in the freezing cold but had the best time.

We were all with the people we cared about and had such a laugh, there was the unusual camaraderie betweens Londoners and tourists (we were the lucky Londoners at that time!).

It was a great night, one I'll always remember!
Lynn Mollan, Scotland

Like a great many fathers, I was divorced with only occasional access to my kids. I had not had them over Christmas, but had them for New Year's Eve (so my ex-wife could celebrate freely!)

We had a 'special tea' and played games and watched TV during the evening, with champagne cooling in the fridge.

At midnight we went out into the garden alerted by the bangs to several firework displays in the area. Nothing special by some peoples' standards, but common enough for divorced fathers paying painful CSA costs, yet having rare or no access to their kids.

It WAS a special night for us, and they used a glass painting kit to decorate a plain whisky glass. That is now a treasured possession, and brought out to mark special events!
Graham Coad, Cornwall

My wife and I, my son and his girlfriend, were guests of the Department of Culture Media and Sport. (I was the official representative of the Baha'i community.)

We started the evening at a reception in the House of Lords, at which various people were given Millennium Awards. I managed to shake hands with Tony Blair

We were then conducted to Westminster Underground station and shepherded onto special Jubilee Line trains to take us to the Dome.

When we got to North Greenwich we avoided the queues to get into the Dome and found our way to our special seats, having collected our tray of food and our drinks.

We all stood and faced the Queen as we sang the National Anthem. The show to open the Dome was spectacular, other than the fireworks that went off inside the Dome at midnight. I think those outside on the banks of the Thames did better for fireworks.

We all (even the Queen) joined hands to sing 'Auld Lang Syne' at midnight as we entered the new Millennium. All very exciting, even if it was really an arbitrary moment in the calendar.

Rather more significant in the long term, was a special multi-faith event hosted in the House of Lords on 3 January. This was the first time that the government publicly acknowledged the existence of nine major faith communities in the UK.

Chris Smith, then Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, read out the names of each of the faith communities, including my own (the Baha'i community) and each community made kind of artistic presentation in the presence of a member of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Barney Leith, UK

I spent it with my children sitting at the end of the bed of my wife, who had ealier had a heart attack, toasting the emergency staff with a glass of non alcoholic wine.
Anonymous

We were running late as usual, so by the time we set out for Westminster it was approximately 9 o'clock.

We were stuck in tube tunnels for a good hour and a half, people were getting on edge and a bit ratty.

As soon as we arrived in Westminster,we found a good spot near Winston Churchill statue, midnight was something else.

The crowd was so ablaze with energy, the sky lit up over Big Ben with every colour ever seen, for a good while too. I will never forget the millenium night ever.
Steve Quinn, England

Here in Fort William, which is the second largest town in the north-west highlands of Scotland next to the then town (now City) of Inverness, I went down to join in the fun in our town's High Street from 2200hrs - 2345hrs, this was due to the fact, that I wanted to be with my late mother, as she was in her late 80's.

The town held a Scottish country dance party from one end to the outher end of the High Street.

There was also a band playing in front of the local TIC, which is also in the middle of the street the crowds were eight deep on each side of the street and that did not include those who were actully dancing.

On the night, it had been both windy and rainy early on but by 2200 hours, it had both stopped raining and the wind had also gone away.

At the east end of the town, there was a ''laser light display'' plus a wonderful fireworks display, as well.

I should say that as there was no trouble. The local police, both PC's and WPC's, had a great time. They joined in the fun as they went about there duties through the crowds.

The only way to describe it was that it was fantastic fun filled night, and one that I will never forget. I'm 57 years old and disabled but I would not have missed it for anything.
Nicholas, Scotland

I was in a small village in Lincolnshire and was only able to see the fireworks after the millenium because as men, me and my uncle went outside and then came back in the new year with wood, coal and salt. It was worth it though because from the street fireworks were going off all over!
Andi, UK On millenium night my wife and a small party of us went to see the new Millenium in London. We waited to see the fireworks display close to the Festival Hall. We never saw the so called "river of fire" but to be fair the fireworks display was magnificent.

The whole thing was spoilt for me by the completely useless organisation. We could not find any toilets and the ladies in our party were forced to relieve themselves under some steps at the Festival Hall.

The food places were out of food by about 2300, but worse was to come when we tried to get home. A huge mob of us tried to converge on Waterloo station which was shut by the time we got there because of the crush.

At this point we weren't going anywhere, stuck in a pedestrian tunnel close to the Imax cinema at Waterloo. At last we extricated ourselves after about an hour, and we continued to walk to Vauxhall through a mass of broken bottles and glass only to find this station closed also.

Outside the station there was a vast number of people milling around waiting for occasional buses. Eventually we spotted a night-bus approaching from Clapham junction. We rushed across the road and managed to get on.

Within 5 minutes the bus was full but the driver said he was not supposed to depart until 0300. After some negotiation the bus departed a little earlier. We arrived at Clapham Junction to find the majority of trains from Waterloo were already full and not stopping at Clapham.

However around 0500 we caught a train to Woking and then changed and waited another half-hour for a train to Brookwood. Eventually we arrived home near Chobham at 0630 on 1 January.

To my mind the lack of organisation as far as numbers of people and transportation were concerned was a complete farce and the resultant crushes on the way home were positively frightening and dangerous. I later marvelled that nobody had been killed.

Even if I lived for a 1000 years I wouldn't go to the next one. In my opinion the whole organisation of this event was unfortunately left to inept inexperienced politicians, and it showed. The organisation should have been entrusted to more experienced people such as the team that organised Diana's funeral or the celebration of the Queen Mother's centenary. I rest my case!
David Snell, Great Britain

I was 30 years old when the figures for the year turned from 999 to 000. I couldn't believe the millions of people who thought they were celebrating the 'new millennium'!

I had a quiet night, but I had a good time celebrating the new millennium a year later.
Mal, UK


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