Belfast Telegraph

Field of Remembrance opens in Belfast

City's tribute to the fallen heroes who died in battle

The official opening yesterday of the 2019 Belfast Field of Remembrance in the grounds of Belfast City Hall
The official opening yesterday of the 2019 Belfast Field of Remembrance in the grounds of Belfast City Hall
The official opening yesterday of the 2019 Belfast Field of Remembrance in the grounds of Belfast City Hall
The array of wooden crosses
D-Day veteran Cedric Wasser (95) at the National Memorial Arboretum yesterday
A disabled veteran arrives for the ceremony in Staffordshire
An ex-soldier remembers his comrades
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

A Field of Remembrance at Belfast City Hall opened yesterday as veterans and the public prepare to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.

Families were present to pay their respects and wooden crosses were placed in honour of the dead during an hour-long service.

Belfast hosts one of six Fields of Remembrance across the UK in memory of those killed in the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts, the city joining Cardiff, Gateshead, Swindon, Westminster and the National Arboretum in Staffordshire as an official Royal British Legion (RBL) site.

A service took place before crosses and commemorative markers were planted in memory of servicemen and women.

The field will remain open to the public to add their own personal tributes and messages until Sunday, November 17.

"This year we are especially remembering those from the wider community across the Commonwealth who gave their lives in service for the freedom we enjoy today," said Brian Maguire, Area Manager, Royal British Legion.

The RBL launched its annual poppy appeal on October 25 and on Saturday night hosted the annual Festival of Remembrance at the Waterfront Hall, traditionally staged a week before the national festival held annually at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

"It remains vitally important that the Royal British Legion is seen as the guardians of remembrance and that's why an event such as the opening of the Field of Remembrance is such an important date in our calendar," Mr Maguire said.

Prayers were led by RBL Chaplain Rev Canon Sam McVeigh, with the first memory cross placed by Her Majesty's Vice Lord Lieutenant for Belfast Sir Nigel Hamilton.

Belfast City Council was represented by Deputy Lord Mayor Peter McReynolds, with the Royal British Legion represented by Northern Ireland District Chairman John Stewart.

Representatives of all the armed forces and the PSNI were in attendance.

Meanwhile, in England, more than a dozen D-Day veterans attended a service to open the Royal British Legion's Field of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum.

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