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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 October 2005, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Are you celebrating Trafalgar Day?
HMS Victory can be seen at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard
Will you be marking the 200th anniversary of the victory at Trafalgar?

Prince Andrew laid a wreath for Admiral Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square at a ceremony that was part of the anniversary commemorations of his victory over France and Spain in the sea battle.

The Queen is due to light the first of 1,000 beacons at HMS Victory, designed to become a "chain of light" around the UK.

The anniversary is being celebrated with 6,000 expected events throughout Britain, and commemoration ceremonies are taking place in Spain.

Will you be commemorating Trafalgar Day? How important was the victory? How significant was Lord Nelson? Send us your comments.

This debate is now closed. Please read a selection of your comments below.


The following comment reflect the balance of views received:

We celebrated Trafalgar Day here in the US with other Brits
Alex, Charlotte, USA
We celebrated Trafalgar Day here in the US with other Brits, not to gloat but to remember a fantastic strategic victory and sacrifice by true patriots who defended our country. That also included many Irish, Scots and Welsh heroes. God bless them and all who lost their lives during that battle.
Alex, Charlotte, USA

On a recent trip to my home country I was lucky enough to pay a visit to the Victory twice. It made me very proud to have been born an Englishman, what a great ship. You could feel the history of it by just standing on the decks, would highly recommend everybody go and tour it and the dockyards.
Richard Barry, Phoenix, Arizona USA

Congratulations on your coverage of the Trafalgar commemorations, but I hope that the BBC will also give the same coverage to the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot.
Roger wWthers, Salisbury, UK

I am vice chairman of the parish council in our village, I organised a celebration which took place last night. We had a children's entertainer and then a proms style concert at which the church choir and the ladies guild choir sang various songs relevant to the occasion. We also sang Rrule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory and waved our flags. Tomorrow we have a civic service and a special peal of bells. We all think it is a great idea to celebrate such an important anniversary.
Joyce Bennell, Ryton on Dunsmore, England

Today, we remember the thousands killed in the Battle of Trafalgar
Tristan, Plymouth, Devon
I would just like to say to all the people who wonder why we're celebrating and why we are celebrating over such a huge loss of life should consider this - if we are to cancel celebrating the Battle of Trafalgar, are we also to stop commemorating the end of the World Wars or are the Americans supposed to stop celebrating Independence Day? No, because all of these celebrations are not so much celebrations as they are commemorations and remembrances of all the many people who lost their lives in the conflicts - today, we remember the thousands killed in the Battle of Trafalgar, and we remember Nelson himself who died in the service of our country
Tristan, Plymouth, Devon

I was disappointed at first that the many TV channels didn't make more of this great day. But then, as I watched a split screen of the Queen's toast to the 'immortal memory' against the other minor news items of the day, I felt genuinely proud of what was done 200 years ago today, and of the nation we were then.
Andrew, Cirencester, UK

Not so much celebrating as remembering the brave individuals who lost their lives to protect our sovereignty. Well done to the BBC for the 360 degree tour of HMS Victory on this site, quite fascinating. It is important that our children should learn more about our past and the heritage of this great nation. Sadly our government do little to promote this.
Peter, London, UK

My family and I have just moved to Boston (from London) for a few years, but I made sure that I told my children (10, 8 and 4) about this great day. My 8-year-old daughter also proudly told her American classmates the story of the battle and how Lord Nelson saved England. We should remember and honour all those who did their duty for England.
Saker Nusseibeh, Boston

This is rightly a day to celebrate the heroism and patriotism of so many lives (British, French, Spanish and many other nationalities) 200 years ago. Of course, we yearn for an end to war and the conflicts which still afflict the world today but it is only right and proper to mark historic moments like the Battle of Trafalgar which began the end of yet another vicious tyranny to blight humanity's history.
Fr Simon Thomson, Portsmouth, UK

I was fortunate to board HMS Victory this bicentenary morning, an overwhelmingly inspiring visit, and gave thanks to the Almighty for Trafalgar, without which the nation would have "ceased to exist" (Napoleon's anticipation). This courageous victory saved Britain from tyranny and destruction, and ushered in great blessings on our islands from the God whom Admiral Lord Nelson conscientiously honoured, but whom Britain now studiously ignores. The sight of Victory's rigging, with her message of confidence in patriotic duty, will stay with me for life and will encourage me in times of trial. God save the Queen.
Alexander Thomson, Bedfordshire

The significance of Trafalgar was far more than the battle. It signalled the end of 18th and 19th century dictators in Europe and gave the continent 100 years of virtual peace which saw the start of the development of the nations of Europe into the advanced modern states we know today. A victory not just for Britain but for the world.
Alan, Aylesbury

In Holland too we remember Trafalgar - Nelson as well as Collingwood. We owe them more than many of us realise.
M Dijkstra, Amersfoort, The Netherlands

It surprises me time and time again: the British nationalistic cults around events that took place hundreds of years ago, nostalgia for glory long, long gone. Yes, remember things like WWI and WWII because they teach us lessons about ourselves. About whom we are and what atrociousness we humans are capable of inflicting on each other. But come on, the battle of Trafalgar? The whole celebration reeks of a nationalism and chauvinism the French would be envy. I thought we Europeans were beyond that thanks to the lessons of the past. Put it in perspective and move on to more important matters this.
Henk van Klaveren, Glasgow, UK

This should be a time when the people in the UK should feel pride
Von Hawley, Leesburg, Virginia, USA
I think this celebration is wonderful. This should be a time when the people in the UK should feel pride in their past and fell proud to be British.
Von Hawley, Leesburg, Virginia, USA

Why not celebrate the event? It happened, and in a time when the English way of life was in danger. As a country we have been invaded a few times, and it only by men and women being prepared to stand against tyranny that we are who we at all.
Brian, Glos, UK

No. We 'celebrate' so many victories in battle it is becoming very boring.
David, Cornwall, UK

Lets all spare a thought for Admiral Collingwood. His ship Royal Sovereign was first into action, a good half an hour before the Victory and after the early death of Nelson took command of the fleet and took the French/Spanish surrender. A forgotten hero.
Edwin Chapple, North Shields

We must never forget our victory at Trafalgar as we must never forget the outcome of WW2. Napoleon was rapidly building an empire which we would have become part of were it not for our forces defending us at battles including Trafalgar and Waterloo. Anyone who can not see the reason to remember these hard-fought battles which protected our nation probably needs a good history lesson.
Mark A, London, UK

To those of you who have wrote saying that this is of no interest to you, if Nelson and the other 448 British sailors who gave their lives that day had not been successful we would be living in a very different Britain today, if it still existed at all. Nelson, although out numbered, took or sunk 18 ships at the cost of not one British ship and gave his life for the Country he loved as he suspected he would not live to see the day out. How many of you would do the same? That is why we celebrate this day.
Richard, Oxford

Without their heroism the UK would have been invaded by Napoleon
James, London, UK
Why shouldn't we celebrate this victory? What is wrong with celebrating Nelson and his men? Without their heroism the UK would have been invaded by Napoleon. He/they ensured the freedom of this country. Nelson and the Royal Navy's victory at Trafalgar were as important as Dowdings and the RAF's victory in the Battle of Britain. As a nation we should not be scared to celebrate those men and women who have fought to build and maintain the freedoms that we all take for granted. These are the real heroes that we should praise - not footballers on 100k a week!
James, London, UK

Most certainly! We're off to the concert at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate a key moment in our country's history.
Ali, England

As British people we should all be proud, for if Napoleon were to have beaten us, it would have plunged the entire world into a dictatorship. Never forget history - if you want a future. Good on you Nelson, rest in peace.
M Hall, Worksop, UK

What a wonderful commemoration of both a glorious victory as well as a tragic loss of so many lives. I'm surprised we were allowed to do it without some jobs-worth banning the event in case it offended either the other members of the EU or a religious minority
David Owen, Thatcham, England

To me as a true Dutchman, this is a sad day. The French entered the Netherlands in 1795 to liberate us from the House of Orange, which started to establish itself as de facto royals. My great-great-great-great-grandfather was a republican and I am proud of that. Thanks to the English, Europe was divided after the war and Holland made a pathetic puppet kingdom, which it still is. Tonight I will be drinking Dutch gin and mull over what could have been had the British fleet been sunk 200 years ago.
Klaas Wijnne, Glasgow, Scotland

Normally I am in favour of celebrating major historical events but all the Trafalgar stuff seems so forced somehow. We've had the 60th anniversaries of VE and VJ day this year which at least some people remember first-hand. After all we now have just a tiny merchant fleet and a Royal Navy with so few ships that a rerun even of the Falklands business would be impossible.
Chris N, Cambridge

Trafalgar was a great victory and worth while remembering it but I think the celebrations are a bit over the top. Let's remember thousands of men where killed in the most brutal way 200 years ago and we should learn from it that war and being effective at killing is nothing to be proud of.
Richard, London, UK

We shall be drinking to the immortal memory tonight in a glass of Nelson's Blood and attending tomorrow the memorial service for the dead sailors of Trafalgar who lie in mass graves at the Greenwich Pleasaunce while wearing in our lapels, not a poppy, but a sprig of oak - as in Hearts of Oak.
Christopher, Greenwich, London

The Trafalgar anniversary this year has been the highlight of events in Portsmouth. A day to be proud of one of the greatest admirals of all time and an excellent chance to learn more of our history. What most people don't know are the events such as drumhead the day after the international fleet review, which brought the navies of many countries together to remember and show unity.
Matty, Portsmouth

Whether people believe it or not, the Americas were protected from Europe by two measures; one was the Monroe Doctrine (from the US), and the other was the British Navy. If Britain was not to control the western hemisphere, it would not let any other European power do so.
Nate, Minneapolis

Well, shiver me timbers, of course I'll be splicing the mainbrace in celebration. Nelson's victory ensured that our great traditions of driving on the left, keeping our monarchy and eating poor food continue to this day. What else would we have called Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column without him?
Stuart, UK

It is a beautiful clear sunny day at the cape today with a light breeze from the west- much like it was 200 years ago today. Probably with another 1,000 people who climbed up to the lighthouse, we could see the ships marking the location of HMS Victory in the distance off shore. Understated but moving nevertheless and great to be 'on the spot'!
Viv, Trafalgar, Spain

I'll be downing a few tots of grog tonight in honour of our greatest naval hero
Karl, Leeds
I'll be downing a few tots of grog tonight in honour of our greatest naval hero - let's have a bank holiday too while we're at it!
Karl, Leeds

I am really enjoying watching news24 coverage of events.
Kate Eldon, Bristol

I work in a complex called 'Trafalgar Place', which has buildings named Victory, Lanchester and Mocatta, but nothing is going on here. The Lord Nelson pub over the road is packed though.
Aegir, Brighton, UK

For goodness sake why can't the powers that be in this country stop resurrecting the past? In this battle as in many others, thousands of people died or were terribly injured. Left alone most people wouldn't have given Trafalgar a thought; it had to be brought to our attention or more likely, rammed down our throats. Let's celebrate peace, although there are not many examples of our involvement in this in our history.
Richard Wells, Cornwall UK

We, my fellow war gamers and I at our club in Grimsby, will be fighting a 1/1200 action with all the ships involved being represented.
Paul Robinson, Grimsby, Lincolnshire

I think that Britain needs to stop looking back and look forward to creating an identity that is free of it's old long-gone empire and break free of being the stepchild of the United States.
Garry, New York, USA

Garry, New York: Does that mean you and your fellow Americans will also stop celebrating Independence Day?
Paul W, London, England

I think its great to celebrate this event it makes you proud to be British.
Emma, Hertford

This morning I asked three different classes in my High School (approx 50 pupils) who was being celebrated today. Not one child had heard of Lord Nelson, and only one knew that Trafalgar Square was so-called because it celebrated "something a long time ago". I was disgusted, but sadly, not surprised, as I said 15 years ago when the National Curriculum came on stream, that this lack of knowledge for Britain's heritage would disappear. I was proved right.
Robert, Preston

It's sad how much significance is given to military victories
Bryan, Edinburgh
It's sad how much significance is given to military victories, glorifying war and re-opening old international wounds. It's 100 years since Einstein published three of the most significant scientific papers of the 20th century, advancing our knowledge of the universe and leading to many of the technological innovations of the last 100 years, yet, in comparison, how much is being done to recognise this truly historic achievement?
Bryan, Edinburgh

I know that the message on HMS Victory was "England expects" but by 1805 can we please remember that Victory and Nelson represented Britain following the 1707 Union. So, although they mistakenly said "England" at the time could BBC (or should I say EBC) reporters stop referring to "the English Victory" and "the English commander" as there were a great many Scots (including one of Nelson's most trusted captains), Welsh and Irish involved in the "British" fleet and ultimate victory on the day.
Ruairidh Ross, Inverness Scotland

Isn't this all just a little over the top?
David Carroll, Edinburgh, formally Teeside

Definitely. I have printed the "England expects..." message, and put it in the office bulletin board, and this evening I will toast to Admiral Nelson with a few friends.
Emilio Desalvo, Italy

I certainly will not be celebrating Trafalgar Day. For goodness sake this battle took place 200 years ago and nobody is still alive that was in it. Our commemoration of the battle is Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column. Isn't that enough?
Andy, Southend

To Andy, Southend. No, that isn't enough, you should not forget the past. The past is how we learn lessons and how we can trace the reasons behind the current state of our nation, now either change your attitude or get out of my country.
Rich, Oxford




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