Scotland remembers on Armistice Day

Communities across Scotland fell silent at 11am on Friday 11 November to mark Armistice Day and remember those who laid down their lives in defence of our nation.

Veterans, members of the Armed Services and the public came together around the country to pay tribute, including children of serving military personnel paying their respects in Dunblane.

The First World War came to an end at 11am on the 11th of November, 1918 with the signing of the Armistice. Each year since 1919 the nation has paid tribute to the fallen from that and other conflicts at the same time.

While the service and wreath-laying could not go ahead as planned at Edinburgh’s Garden of Remembrance in Princes Street Gardens due to high winds, the Rt Hon Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge, joined Legion Scotland and veterans to reflect at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory. Legion Scotland National Padre Revd Dr Karen Campbell led a short service, before wreaths were laid.

Dr Claire Armstrong, Chief Executive of Legion Scotland, said:

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom, from the First World War to more recent conflicts. Today is about remembering them, as well as those servicemen and women who came back with mental or physical injuries.

“We were very disappointed that the planned service at Princes Street Gardens could not go ahead due to the weather warnings, but public safety has to be paramount. While the service was much smaller than planned, we were glad that veterans from Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory and elsewhere were able to join us in paying tribute, while people across Scotland observed the two minutes silence.”

Retired Army Major Andrew Johnstone, from Brisbane, Australia, joined the service at the factory.

He said:

“When you sign up, you sign a blank cheque that you are prepared to give your life for your country. I know many who are not here today because of that, and it’s important that we remember them.”

Aidan Stephen, from Edinburgh, who served as a Major with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, was among those paying tribute in Edinburgh City Centre. He said:

“We just can’t forget. There isn’t a single person in my family who has not been affected by conflict in some way. I think of them today, as well as the friends I’ve lost.  

Pupils at Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, which has been looking after the children of UK service personnel since 1908, visited Bud, Poppyscotland’s interactive mobile museum.  They learned more about the origins of the poppy as our national symbol of remembrance and the vital work Poppyscotland still undertakes supporting the Armed Forces community today.

S1 student Ruby May Gibson, whose father and brother are both currently serving with the Royal Regiment of Scotland, said:

“My brother, my dad and my grandparents all served so this is an important day for me.  On Armistice Day I think about the people who fought and died for us.

“I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the poppy on Bud. I think it is so important that we always remember.”

Armistice Day is followed tomorrow by “Poppy Saturday”, a day when streets and shopping centres will be filled with thousands of Poppyscotland volunteers as the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal approaches its culmination.

One day later, Scotland will again fall silent to mark Remembrance Sunday.  The First Minister will join military and civic leaders, serving personnel and veterans at the Stone of Remembrance in Edinburgh at 11am, with local Remembrance Sunday events taking place in communities across the country.

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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