Belfast Telegraph

Remembrance: Thousands honour war dead in Northern Ireland

By Adrian Rutherford

People across Northern Ireland fell silent yesterday as poignant ceremonies were held to remember the fallen.

Thousands bowed their heads in quiet reflection as a two-minute tribute was observed to honour the dead of two world wars and other conflicts.

In Belfast, the Deputy Lord Mayor Ruth Patterson and Olympic heroine Dame Mary |Peters led a wreath-laying ceremony at the City Hall.

Security was tight as the city centre came to a standstill for the hour-long event.

Among those attending the ceremony were the First Minister Peter Robinson, Secretary of State Owen Paterson and PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott.

Mr Robinson said it was important that people remembered the sacrifices that had been given for the freedom we enjoy today.

“That is right up to date now with the war in Afghanistan and the sacrifices that have been made there,” he said. “It was an especially poignant and moving occasion today.”

Mrs Patterson, who led the proceedings in the absence of Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile, said she was privileged and honoured to have taken part.

Also present was SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell.

He, however, chose not to follow the precedent set by Margaret Ritchie last year by wearing a poppy.

Veterans also took part in the Remembrance Day ceremony in Newtownards, Co Down.

In Dublin, Irish President Michael D Higgins attended the annual Remembrance Day service at St Patrick's Cathedral.

It was his first official engagement since his inauguration day on Friday.

One of the most poignant ceremonies took place in Enniskillen, where an IRA bomb attack in 1987 claimed the lives of 11 people.

Army cadets and veterans' associations were among those who took part in the traditional parade ahead of the service.

Stormont minister Arlene Foster and Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott, both MLAs for the area, were among dignitaries who laid wreaths.

The town's cenotaph was rebuilt after the bomb, with 11 doves to represent those who died in the terrorist attack.

In Coleraine, the family of Ranger Aaron McCormick, who was killed in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday last year, laid wreaths at the war memorial in The Diamond.

And in Bangor, Gordon and Susan Dalzell laid a wreath in memory of their son, Ranger David Dalzell, who died in Afghanistan in February.

Among those taking part in the Remembrance Service in Armagh were the Earl of Caledon, Lord Lieutenant of Co Armagh, and Rodney Hunter, president of the local Royal British Legion branch.

In Tyrone, an inter-denominational service was held in Omagh Academy followed by wreath-laying at the town’s cenotaph.

In Londonderry, the main service was led by Dean of Derry, Dr William Morton.

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