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Thousands join silent Armistice Day tribute


EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 08:  A veteran holds crosses and poppies to mark Armistice Day

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 08: A veteran holds crosses and poppies to mark Armistice Day

Jeff J Mitchell

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 08: A veteran holds crosses and poppies to mark Armistice Day

Thousands of people across Northern Ireland yesterday marked Armistice Day with a two-minute silence.

In one of the largest gatherings in years, hundreds of people were at Belfast's Garden of Remembrance at the City Hall.

Remembrance services and parades are to take place tomorrow in every major town and many smaller villages across Northern Ireland to remember all those affected by conflict.

The Royal British Legion has once again created a Field of Remembrance in the grounds of Belfast City Hall, where one of the biggest services will take place at 11am tomorrow.

There are special plots in the Field of Remembrance to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives serving in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is also a plot of almost 600 crosses with personal messages sent in by the public.

The Belfast Field of Remembrance is on the Donegall Square West side of Belfast City Hall, next to the Cenotaph. It will remain open until November 20.

Belfast’s deputy Lord Mayor Ruth Patterson is taking the place of Sinn Fein Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile to lead the memorial service at the Cenotaph.

At St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast the Act of Remembrance will take place at the service of Choral Eucharist.

In Londonderry a service and wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the war memorial in The Diamond.

Laura Murray, British Legion district secretary for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, said: “There are more than 80 branches of the British Legion across Northern Ireland and all are holding a memorial service and parade, usually in conjunction with a council or district event.”

Ms Murray said the two-minute silence yesterday to mark 11-11-11 (the 11th day of the 11th month, 2011) had been observed across Northern Ireland.

“Connswater shopping centre in east Belfast came to a complete standstill,” she said. “William Hill the bookmaker stopped for two minutes, with their screens going blank, and many Tesco branches also observed the silence as a mark of respect.”

Justice Minister David Ford laid the first wreath yesterday at the annual memorial service for prison officers at the Prison Service College in Millisle, Co Down.

“It is important that we never forget the ultimate sacrifice made by 29 members of Prison Service staff who were murdered during the dark days of the Troubles,” he said.

The family of Ranger Aaron McCormick (22), from Coleraine, who was killed in Afghanistan on Remembrance Sunday last year, will lay wreaths at the war memorial in The Diamond, Coleraine.

The deputy mayor William King will join a memorial service afterwards at Killowen Church of Ireland in the town.

Coleraine mayor, Alderman Maurice Bradley, will be attending a memorial service along the coast at Portstewart Presbyterian Church.

The Royal Irish Rangers OCA will hold a parade from the Northern Ireland Supporters Club on the Shankill Road, Belfast, to the Remembrance Garden at 1pm tomorrow, returning at 2.30pm.

One of the most poignant parades will be taking place in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

It was the scene of an IRA atrocity 24 years ago when a bomb claimed the lives of 11 people and injured dozens.

Belfast Telegraph