Politics

First minister leads Remembrance events in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon Image copyright PA Wire
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon laid a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance before giving a reading at St Giles’ Cathedral

The first minister has led Remembrance Sunday events being held across Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon laid a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance at Edinburgh City Chambers with Lord Provost Frank Ross, before a service at St Giles’ Cathedral.

She gave a reading to commemorate those who had lost their lives in armed conflict.

Her deputy, John Swinney attended an event in Glasgow’s George Square.

The SNP was being represented by Ian Blackford at the service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, while Veterans Minister Graeme Dey took part in a service on board HMS Unicorn in Dundee.

A two-minute silence was observed across the country at 11:00.

‘Ultimate sacrifice’

Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh and Advocate General Lord Keen joined veterans, serving members of the armed forces and emergency services, and representatives from different faiths at the St Giles service.

Image copyright PA Wire
Image caption Children holding giant poppies joined a war veteran during the Remembrance Day service at the Stone of Remembrance in Edinburgh

In her address, Ms Sturgeon said of those who lost their lives serving their country: “Their sacrifice is responsible for the freedoms and the way of life that we take for granted today.

“This is an opportunity to give gratitude, to show our respect, and to send a message that that sacrifice will never be forgotten.

“I’m privileged today to lay a wreath on behalf of the people of Scotland and I do so with the utmost gratitude and respect, not just for the sacrifices of the past, but for the courage and the sacrifices of our armed forces today.”

Image caption Remembrance events also took place in Glasgow’s George Square

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “On Remembrance Sunday every year, we reflect not on the glory of war – but on the huge sacrifice that was made so that we can stay free.

“Many families in Scotland lost loved ones in the First World War and the Second World War.

“We all have a responsibility to remember the sacrifice they made, and to hold the families they have left behind in our thoughts.

“Let us resolve once again to think about how we can build and sustain peace in the future, while never forgetting the sacrifices of the past.”

Image caption The service at the war memorial in Dunblane

More than 90 wreaths were laid during the service organised by Legion Scotland and led by Reverend Calum MacLeod of St Giles’ Cathedral, who read Binyon’s Lines before hundreds of members of the public who gathered on the Royal Mile to pay their respects.

RAF Sgt Whitson Johnson, 95, who fought in Burma during World War Two, attended from Portobello.

He said: “We must remember. Young people have to know what has happened in the past and realise what they are doing today was fought for.

“Mostly they do appreciate it and it’s nice to see younger people learning about what happened.”

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Image caption Nicola Sturgeon lays a wreath at the Edinburgh event

Dr Claire Armstrong, chief executive of Legion Scotland, said people were as keen to be involved in remembrance events than ever before.

She said: “We had discussions last year about how remembrance would shape up once we finished the armistice for World War One.

“We are in the shadow of that now, but the interest in remembrance has not waned one bit, if anything it’s been a springboard to get more people involved and more people interested.

“The amount of people we have here today – almost 100 wreaths are being laid, the biggest number that we’ve had in recent years – is testament to that.”

Source: bbc.co.uk

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