Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Duke of Kent to commemorate Ireland's war heroes with Michael D Higgins

The Duke of Kent
The Duke of Kent

Irish President Michael D Higgins and the Duke of Kent will officially unveil the first Cross of Sacrifice erected in the Irish Republic to commemorate those who died in the World Wars.

The memorial to as many as 60,000 Irishmen and women killed in combat will stand in Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery, the country's largest burial ground and resting place to many of the state's founding fathers.

It is the latest milestone in the recent official recognition of Irish citizens who fought in the wars, who for decades were forgotten, pilloried and blacklisted for joining the British armed forces.

Just two years ago, the Irish Government apologised for the treatment of 4,500 Irishmen branded deserters for signing up to the fight against Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

The duke said it was an important step in the continuing process of remembering those who died.

"It represents a lasting tribute to their sacrifice and it is my hope, in the years to come, that memorials such as these continue to inspire successive generations to remember," he said.

The Cross of Sacrifice is erected in cemeteries around the world holding the graves of 40 or more war dead.

Until today Ireland was the only such country not to have one.

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