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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Salmond attends memorial service
Alex Salmond
The first minister was among those at the memorial service
First Minister Alex Salmond has joined other politicians as well as military and religious leaders at the annual National War Memorial service.

The event was held to mark the 80th anniversary of the Edinburgh memorial being opened to the public.

Also in attendance were the family of Private Craig O'Donnell, who was killed in Afghanistan last September.

The memorial, which opened in 1927, lists all Scots killed in action from World War I to the present day.

Private O'Donnell, from Clydebank, who served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul in September.

Public donations

Along with Mr Salmond, those laying wreaths included the heads of the Army, Navy and RAF in Scotland, along with representatives of the Merchant Navy and former service personnel's organisations.

Lib Dem leader Nicol Stephen and Tory leader Annabel Goldie joined the gathering.

Financed by public donations, work began on the memorial, designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, in a converted barracks at Edinburgh Castle in 1923.

The service was conducted by a Royal Navy chaplain assisted by bishops from the Scottish Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches.

The Right Reverend Sheilagh Kesting, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, gave the address.

It's a particular pleasure to see Mr Salmond, especially as it's early in his administration and he is a very, very busy man
Colonel Ian Shepherd

She spoke of her own experiences of the memorial, including seeing for the first time the name of her uncle, an RAF pilot killed during World War II.

Colonel Ian Shepherd, secretary to the memorial's trustees, has organised the event since 1993.

He said: "Every year we invite the first minister and the secretary of state for Scotland and it's a particular pleasure to see Mr Salmond, especially as it's early in his administration and he is a very, very busy man.

"In recent years we've had the liberation of Kuwait, the invasion of Iraq and engagements in Afghanistan, all of which have cost casualties.

"All of the names of those lost in these operations are recorded in the memorial.

"I think that it must be a solace to families to know that their loved ones aren't forgotten."


SEE ALSO
Family's tribute to dead soldier
05 Sep 06 |  Glasgow and West
Tributes paid on Remembrance Day
12 Nov 06 |  Scotland

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