The na­tion will go silent to re­mem­ber the fallen

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS -

Mil­lions of peo­ple will fall silent this week­end to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

A se­ries of events will take place up and down the na­tion for the centenary of the Ar­mistice.

The Queen and se­nior mem­bers of the royal fam­ily will at­tend the an­nual Fes­ti­val of Remembrance at Lon­don’s Royal Al­bert Hall tonight, which will com­mem­o­rate all those who have lost their lives in con­flicts.

To­mor­row, the Prince of Wales will once again lead the na­tion in hon­our­ing the coun­try’s war dead dur­ing the na­tional ser­vice of remembrance.

The Queen has asked Charles to lay a wreath at the Ceno­taph in White­hall on her be­half – the sec­ond suc­ces­sive year he will per­form the duty.

Dur­ing the Ceno­taph event, the Queen will watch the ser­vice from the bal­cony of the For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice build­ing, as she did last year.

For the first time, a Ger­man leader will lay a wreath at the Ceno­taph, with Pres­i­dent Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier per­form­ing the duty on be­half of his na­tion in a historic act of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Af­ter the ser­vice, 10,000 peo­ple, cho­sen by bal­lot, will have the op­por­tu­nity to pay their re­spects to all those who served in the First World War by taking part in the Na­tion’s Thank You pro­ces­sion past the Ceno­taph.

Dur­ing the day, church and other bells will ring out as they did at the end of the First World War – and a West­min­ster Abbey ser­vice will be held along with oth­ers in Glas­gow, Cardiff and Belfast, to give thanks for peace and those who re­turned.

Bat­tle’s Over, a se­ries of hun­dreds of lo­cal events to mark the centenary of the Ar­mistice, will also take place to­mor­row.

Pipers will play, bea­cons will be lit and church bells will ring in all cor­ners of the UK and around the world as com­mu­ni­ties pay tribute to the First World War fallen.

De­scribed as a na­tion’s tribute, Bat­tle’s Over has been in the plan­ning for four years and will see hun­dreds of lo­cally-or­gan­ised events mark the centenary.

The Na­tional Me­mo­rial Arboretum in Stafford­shire will again be a fo­cus of re­flec­tion, with up to 6,000 peo­ple ex­pected to gather.

As is tra­di­tional, and fit­ting, the peo­ple of Bri­tain will fall silent at 11am to­mor­row morn­ing. The yearly time for re­flec­tion has taken on greater sig­nif­i­cance on this, the 100th an­niver­sary of the Ar­mistice.

As demon­strated by the wealth of ex­hi­bi­tions and re­search pro­jects and seas of pop­pies spilling from churches and pub­lic build­ings, com­mu­ni­ties will not for­get the sac­ri­fices made in at­tempts to bring peace to war-torn lands.

The First World War was dubbed – in­cor­rectly, as it turned out – the war to end all wars.

It was fol­lowed quickly by the Sec­ond World War and count­less con­flicts through the decades, right up to mod­ern day atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

Sadly, bat­tles con­tinue to rage across the world and we live in in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous times.

Ide­olo­gies thought to be on the wane are ris­ing again, cli­mate change threat­ens mas­sive so­cio-eco­nomic in­sta­bil­ity and the con­cept of na­tion­hood takes on ev­er­greater sig­nif­i­cance.

That is why it is wrong to sug­gest this centenary com­mem­o­ra­tion should be the last.

The scale of events may never again match what has taken place over the last 12 months but there is no doubt­ing the value of the an­nual remembrance.

How­ever well mean­ing, to sug­gest it is time to for­get the past and con­cen­trate only on the fu­ture is mis­guided.

Fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, or those who have not lived through a world war or its af­ter­math, must be taught about how their free­doms were won so that they can also learn how quickly they could be lost.

The sto­ries told in the pages of The Courier, and so many places else­where, about sol­diers, sailors and civil­ian ca­su­al­ties are not glo­ry­ing in a war which saw need­less slaugh­ter on an in­dus­trial scale.

They serve to re­mind us what was given up on those bru­tal for­eign fields, and why.

It is for that rea­son we re­mem­ber them and will con­tinue to do so.

Mov­ing trib­utes in a Remembrance Field at Royal Woot­ton Bas­sett.

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