First minister leads Remembrance events in Scotland

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.

‘Ultimate sacrifice’

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

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

Image caption

Wreaths were laid during a service at Inverness war memorial

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.”

‘Gratitude and appreciation’

Lord Provost Frank Ross is the Edinburgh’s veterans champion.

He said: “By attending a Remembrance service or parade, wearing a poppy or taking a moment of quiet reflection, so many of us have shown our gratitude and appreciation for the enormous sacrifices being made every day on our behalf by so many courageous men and women.

“It has filled me with great pride to lay a wreath on behalf of all citizens at Scotland’s national commemorations and to see so many local communities come together in their own ways to pay their respects.”

Image copyright
PA Wire

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.”

Scotland will fall silent again at 11:00 on Monday for Armistice Day.

The two-minute silence will take place on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time in 1918 when the guns finally fell silent along the western front, and an armistice was declared.