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Great Britain Remembers Veterans - 2001-11-12


In a poignant ceremony, Britain has again remembered those who have fallen in battle since World War I on this year's service at the Cenotaph, the war memorial in central London.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Britain fell silent for two-minutes, with just Big Ben and a single cannon shot breaking through the crisp November air to mark the armistice that ended World War I.

But the events of September 11 in the U.S. have refocused minds this year that conflict is not something resigned to the history books. And for the first time ever, in a sign of solidarity, the U.S. ambassador in London, William Farrish, was invited to the service.

New York City Fire Chief Joe Callan also was in attendance, marching alongside British firefighters to the Cenotaph.

Since the end of the First World War, 83 years ago, British service men and women have died in 70 conflicts and peacekeeping missions around the globe.

About 10,000 veterans paid their respects to their fallen colleagues as one-by-one, they marched past the war memorial.

With the playing of the Last Post, the Queen laid a poppy wreath at the foot of the Cenotaph on behalf of the nation. She was followed by other royals; including the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.

And for the first time in three years, the Queen Mother attended the ceremony. Now 101 years old, she watched from a balcony as a wreath was laid in her honor.

The Bishop of London, Richard Charters, spoke about the sacrifices made, sacrifices that can never be forgotten. He said, "We who here do honor to the memory of those who died in their service of their country and of the crown, may be so inspired by the spirit of their love and fortitude."

But not only the past was reflected upon. All in attendance were mindful of the unfolding war in Afghanistan, with Britain's Defense Secretary, Geoff Hoon confirming that British forces are on the ground there to help out the Northern Alliance advance.