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The BBC's Jennie Bond reports
"Wreaths were laid by the Prime Minister and other political leaders"
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Sunday, 12 November, 2000, 20:17 GMT
Britain honours war dead
Veterans at the Cenotaph in London
Thousands of veterans joined services across the UK
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh led the commemorations on Remembrance Sunday as Britain honoured its war dead.

People across the UK took part in wreath-laying ceremonies just a day after Armistice Day, when millions fell silent to mark the moment World War I ended in 1918.

In central London on Sunday, 6,000 ex-servicemen and women and 2,000 civilians marched along Horse Guards Parade to the Cenotaph where wreaths were laid in memory of the war dead.

It was the most inclusive Remembrance Sunday to date with the first parade by non-Christian faiths. Veterans from the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Greek Orthodox faiths all participated.

Deserters remembered

The World War One Pardons Association, representing relatives of soldiers shot for desertion, took part in the civil parade for the first time.

The Queen
The Queen led the commemorations

The Evacuees Reunion Association, representing the thousands of British children evacuated to the countryside during the Second World War, were also newcomers to the parade.

The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Princess Royal and Duke of Kent laid their wreaths at the base of the Cenotaph in Whitehall after a two-minute silence at 1100GMT.

Wreaths were also laid by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Conservative leader William Hague and other politicians.

For the second year running, the Queen Mother was not well enough to attend the ceremony, after falling and breaking her collar bone five days ago.

The dignitaries included former Prime Ministers John Major, Margaret Thatcher and Sir Edward Heath.

At 1400GMT, British Jewish war veterans paraded to the Cenotaph, joined by a contingent from Paris, and Jewish war veterans of the United States.

The parade also featured a 1,600-strong contingent of Korean war veterans, marking the 50th anniversary of the start of the conflict.


Veterans in wheelchairs also paid testament to the sacrifices of the country's war heroes.

Normandy veteran Pat Wright, 76, from Surrey, said it was disappointing that the Queen Mother had not been there.

"It's not her fault - she's normally the first person who wants to be down here," said the former Para.

"Today went very smoothly. It's good to catch up with people but it's a sad day too."

Big Ben
Silence fell at 11 o'clock
Similar, if smaller, ceremonies took place throughout the UK.

A spokesman for the Scottish Poppy Appeal said the charity was pleased by the public response to its efforts.

"There are up to 1,000 war memorials across Scotland and there were wreath-laying ceremonies at each," he said.

"The weather, despite being cold and wet in place, does not seem to have affected the turnout. All in all, it was a very satisfying turnout.

"And let's not forget that the two-minute silence remains the single biggest demonstration of spontaneous public response to a single cause."

Armistice Day

The successful Remembrance Day ceremonies followed a day after events to mark Armistice Day.

Prince Charles receiving flame
Prince Charles with the Flame of Remembrance
Saturday's events culminated in the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall which was also attended by the Queen and the Prince of Wales.

Before the festival, 15-year-old schoolgirl Sarah Baker presented Prince Charles with the Millennium Flame of Remembrance which had been carried by 500 children from the Millennium Dome to the Cenotaph and on to the Albert Memorial, opposite the Royal Albert Hall.

The Royal British Legion, which hopes its poppy appeal will raise 20m to help veterans of all conflicts, estimated that more than 40 million people had observed the two-minute silence.

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