Communities mark 100 years since First World War Armistice

Communities across Scotland joined together in quiet reflection on Remembrance Sunday as they marked 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Thousands of people the length and breadth of the country observed a two-minute silence at 11am in recognition of the centenary of the Armistice and those who have lost their lives in conflict.

Many did so as they attended ceremonies, parades and services, others pausing for reflection in locations such as railway stations – echoing acts of remembrance taking place across the UK on a day of commemorations.

Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon lays a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance at the city chambers, Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon laid a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance outside Edinburgh’s city chambers following the period of hushed reflection.

Watched by a crowd of thousands, she did so after 11 rounds were fired from Edinburgh Castle, with the guns then falling silent.

More than 100 wreaths were laid at the poignant service, organised by Legion Scotland and attended by members of the Armed Forces, and representatives of the emergency services and faith organisations.

Armed Forces march
Members of the Armed Forces take part in a remembrance parade and service in Fort William (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Speaking at the ceremony, Ms Sturgeon said the day presented an opportunity for everyone to reflect on “the enormous debt that we owe those who have served in our Armed Forces and who continue to do so”.

She told Press Association Scotland: “Remembrance Sunday is always a day of reflection and poignancy, when we remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts across the last century.

“But today has an added poignancy as we mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

“It’s an opportunity for this generation to express our gratitude, but also to resolve to learn the lessons so that we may hope that we never see the like again.”

Armistice Day
Tributes outside Liberton Kirk in Edinburgh, where 16,000 poppies have been installed to mark the centenary of the Armistice (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Of the 700,000 Scots who joined the forces, more than 100,000 died during the First World War.

Nearly every village, city and town in Scotland has some form of memorial displaying the names of their war dead.

In Glasgow, another large crowd gathered around the cenotaph at George Square to remember the fallen heroes who have given their lives for their country.

In Aberdeen, representatives of the Armed Forces and ex-service organisations paraded to the war memorial before the Lord Provost led the laying of wreaths in a ceremony – mirroring gatherings at war memorials in communities large and small around the country.

On Sunday afternoon, Ms Sturgeon and the Princess Royal were joining about 1,000 people attending a national service at Glasgow Cathedral to mark the end of the Great War.

Armistice Day 2018
The names of those who were killed serving on behalf of Scotland in the First World War will be projected on to the Scottish Parliament (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Musicians and artists have also come together to commemorate the milestone.

Before sunrise, individual pipers at locations around the world, including a number in Scotland, performed Battle’s O’er, a traditional song played at the end of conflicts.

Six Scottish beaches have been taking part in director Danny Boyle’s UK-wide Pages of the Sea event, to mark the centenary.

St Ninian’s Isle beach in Shetland, West Sands in St Andrews, Scapa beach in Orkney, Ayr beach, Burghead Bay beach on the Moray Firth and Cula Bay beach on the isle of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides all had a large-scale portrait of a casualty from the conflict drawn in the sand before being washed away by the incoming tide.

After dark, a special light and sound projection is taking place at the Scottish Parliament, with the names of all those Scots who died during the conflict to be beamed on to the building.

It will take seven hours, from 5pm until midnight, for the names of each of the 134,712 men and women to be shown.

Armistice Day
Eilean Donan Castle was among landmarks illuminated in red ahead of Armistice Day (Poppy Scotland/PA)

Beacons of fire will be lit at points around Scotland and the rest of the UK during Armistice Day in a National Trust project.

Buildings and landmarks across the country have also been showing their support for the Scottish Poppy Appeal by lighting up red in the week running up to, and including, Remembrance Day.

Sir Alistair Irwin, president of Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland, said: “Quite rightly, we are remembering all those who sacrificed so much a century ago when our world changed forever.

“But in remembering the First World War today it is very important that we include in our thoughts all those men and women who have served and suffered in conflicts in the 100 years that followed.

“They are as important to all of us as those who fell in the Great War. Today is a day of great emotion and very rightly so. We will remember them.”

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