Posted November 8, 2020 5:29 pm by

UK honours war dead on virus-afflicted Remembrance Day

A national wreath-laying Remebrance Sunday ceremony proceeded at the Cenotaph war memorial in London, but there were no lines of veterans marching past or crowds watching because of the Covid-19 pandemic © POOL/AFP / PETER NICHOLLS

London, United Kingdom, Nov 8 – Britain fell silent on Sunday in tribute to its war dead as royals and politicians commemorated a low-key Remembrance Day without the usual solemn pageantry, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

The country observed a two-minute silence at 11:00 am (1100 GMT), the time on November 11 when the guns stopped firing in World War I after four years of horrific fighting.

A national wreath-laying ceremony proceeded at the Cenotaph war memorial in London, but there were no long queues of veterans marching past or crowds watching because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We come together every November to commemorate the servicemen and women from Britain and the Commonwealth who sacrificed their lives for our freedom,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ahead of the ceremony.

“In this time of adversity, no virus can stop us from honouring their memory, particularly when we have just celebrated the 75th anniversary of victory in the Second World War.

“And in times of trial, our tributes matter even more.”

This year, after Black Lives Matter protests spread to Britain from the United States, Johnson has also called for greater acknowledgement of the role of black and Asian troops in World War II.

UK honours war dead on virus-afflicted Remembrance Day

Queen Elizabeth II had laid a wreath on Britain’s Tomb of the Unknown Warrior earlier in the week, marking 100 years since the remains of an unidentified soldier were brought back from northern France © POOL/AFP / PETER NICHOLLS

He cited the British Indian Army — the “largest volunteer force in history” — and the 14th army, the “Forgotten Army” comprising mostly Commonwealth troops who fought a brutal campaign against Japanese forces in Burma.

Earlier in the week, Queen Elizabeth II laid a bouquet of orchids and myrtle on Britain’s Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, marking 100 years since the remains of an unidentified soldier were brought back from northern France.

The 94-year-old monarch staged a private ceremony at the tomb in Westminster Abbey, using a floral arrangement modelled on her wedding bouquet, according to Buckingham Palace.

Since 2017, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles has taken his ageing mother’s place at the Cenotaph ceremony.

– Lonely tributes –

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