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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Sunday, 11 November, 2001, 00:14 GMT
Festival honours New York heroes
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh
The Queen arrives with the Duke of Edinburgh
A New York police officer and fire chief received a standing ovation at a Festival of Remembrance in London.

Police lieutenant Frank Dwyer and fire chief Joe Callan were special guests at the Royal British Legion's 80th anniversary event at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and her husband, Commodore Tim Laurence, attended the event on Saturday evening.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, his wife Cherie and father Leo were also among the 5,300-strong audience which included current and former servicemen and women.

Tony Blair with his father, Leo
Tony Blair arrives with his father, Leo

This year's festival, which was broadcast on BBC television and radio, was especially moving with the memories of the 11 September US attacks still vivid.

Lieutenant Dwyer, who has helped with the clear-up operation following the atrocities, said he was delighted to have been invited.

"It is indeed particularly poignant and the scope of the impact of 11 September is for this generation the same as it was for those who witnessed Pearl Harbour and the assassination of John F Kennedy," he said.

He later joined a police officer who worked in London during the Blitz, as well as pop group Hear'Say, who launched this year's Poppy Appeal, for the muster at the festival's end.

The participants gathered in the centre of the hall as hundreds of thousands of poppy petals fell from the rafters.

Prince Charles
Prince Charles arrives for the festival's evening performance

Stephen Menary, a 15-year-old cadet who was blinded by an explosive device in White City earlier this year, carried the Torch of Remembrance.

Classic crooner Max Bygraves entertained the crowd with a version of his song You'll Never Know.

A service of remembrance was conducted by the Right Reverend Michael Mann.

The Royal British Legion estimates that more than 45 million people will observe the two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday this year because of the terror attacks.

A spokesman said: "This year, there will be an added poignancy as we remember not only those who died in the service of their country in World Wars I and II and in more than 70 conflicts since 1945, but also those who lost their lives on 11 September in tragic circumstances as a result of terrorism.

People are wearing their poppies with extra pride

Royal British Legion spokesman
"With our armed forces once again facing active service - this time in Afghanistan in the wake of the events in the United States only two months ago - people are wearing their poppies with extra pride.

"We expect a surge in attendance at Remembrance services and events throughout the country."

Record-breaking bid

The Legion is also making a bid for the record books this year by campaigning for its Poppy Appeal CD to be played by radio stations across the UK immediately after Sunday's two-minute silence.

It said that more than 90 stations have already promised to play one of the three songs on the CD, which was written and recorded by pop duo Saxon-Jaimes.

If successful, the CD will enter the Guinness Book of Records for the greatest-ever number of simultaneous plays of a song.

"The number of supporting broadcasters is rising every day and we have received many pledges to participate in our record-breaking attempt," said a Legion spokesman.

"We hope that it will both fire the public's imagination and draw further attention to the great music recorded for the Poppy Appeal."

The BBC's Daniel Boettcher
"At a time of conflict a tribute to those who lost their lives in previous wars"
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