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Monday, January 30, 2023

Remembrance Sunday: UK to fall silent to commemorate war dead

PA Media

The UK will fall silent for two minutes at 11:00 BST as the country pays its respects to the war dead.

King Charles will lead a Remembrance Day service for the first time as monarch since the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September.

The late Queen considered Remembrance Sunday one of the most important royal engagements in the calendar.

The King, politicians and faith leaders will lay wreaths at the Cenotaph memorial in central London.

King Charles’ ring of poppies will incorporate a ribbon of racing colours in a tribute to the ones used by the late Queen and his grandfather King George VI.

During his time as Prince of Wales, King Charles represented the late Queen at the last five Cenotaph services and laid a wreath on her behalf, as she watched from the Foreign Office balcony that overlooks Whitehall.

Charles lays a wreath at the cenotaph when he was Prince of Wales

PA Media

The service will also feature a march past by 10,000 Royal British Legion veterans, representing 300 different Armed Forces and organisations between them.

Among those taking part will be World War II veterans – fewer in number as each year goes by – and those who have served in more recent conflicts.

To commemorate 40 years since the Falklands War, 400 members of the South Atlantic Medal Association will also take part.

They will be joined by those who have lost loved ones in conflict, with the youngest marcher just eight years old.

A further 10,000 members of the public will line Whitehall to watch the service.

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The beginning of the silence will be marked by Big Ben striking 11 times at 11:00 GMT. The bell has been largely silent for five years after it was dismantled and repaired in a renovation project. While it has run for events such as New Year’s Eve and the late Queen’s funeral, its tolling on Sunday will mark its official return to use.

Along with King Charles, Camilla the Queen Consort, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Anne and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, will attend the service.

Queen Elizabeth on Remembrance Sunday

Reuters

The event will be attended by senior members of the government.

Speaking ahead of the service, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace commemorated the fallen and also paid tribute to those fighting for Ukrainians’ freedom.

Mr Sunak said: “This year more than ever, we are reminded of the huge debt of gratitude we owe those who lay down their lives to protect their country.

“As we fall silent together on Remembrance Sunday, we will honour the memories of the men and women we have lost and pay tribute to the brave soldiers of Ukraine as they continue their fight for freedom.”

His words were echoed by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace who said Remembrance Sunday was a time to reflect on the sacrifices made by our veterans and service personnel around the world.

“We must never forget those who gave their lives in defence of our values and our great nation,” he said.

“All of us will also be thinking of those brave Ukrainians who are fighting for their very own survival to defend freedom and democracy for all, just as the UK and Commonwealth soldiers did in both world wars.”

On Saturday, members of the Royal Family attended the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

On Friday, the UK held another silence on Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I. in 1918.

We were there world war two stories shared

BBC News

Ahead of the 80th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in 2025, the BBC is trying to gather as many first-hand accounts from surviving veterans as possible, to preserve them for future generations.

Working with a number of partners, including the Normandy Memorial Trust and the Royal British Legion, the BBC has already spoken to many men and women who served during the War – you can watch their testimonies here.

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