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Britain stages nationwide events to mark WWI centenary

English.news.cn   2014-08-05 06:08:59

LONDON, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Members of the British Royal Family and senior politicians in Britain on Monday joined the nation in commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War (WWI).

Solemn services of remembrance were held across the country, with royal family members and government ministers heading for major cities to mark the historic event, according to a Downing Street statement.

A national service commemoration, focusing on the Commonwealth contribution to the war, was organized in the morning at Glasgow Cathedral, where Prince Charles, Prime Minister David Cameron and some Commonwealth dignitaries joined in the remembrance.

"A hundred years ago today Britain entered the First World War and we are marking that centenary to honor those who served, to remember those who died, and to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us forever," Cameron said.

"It is right to remember the extraordinary sacrifice of a generation and we are all indebted to them because their most enduring legacy is our liberty," he added.

Members of the current British Armed Forces also took part in a variety of events across Britain and overseas to mark the centenary. In Afghanistan, those serving in Camp Bastion also held an evening service of remembrance.

On Monday, a national candlelit Vigil was organized to inspire communities to reflect on the years of war.

As part of a national Lights Out campaign, a commemoration was observed at Westminster Abbey, inviting everyone in the country to turn off their lights from 22:00 to 23:00, according to the Downing Street statement.

The lights in Westminster Headquarters of British Ministry of Defense, and at the Old War Office will be extinguished and a single light will be left burning in each building to join in this moment of shared reflection.

The lights were expected to be turned out at 23:00, the time when the Declaration of War was signed.

"Breaking with tradition, we are marking the start as well as the end of the conflict so that the anniversaries of the war will improve our understanding of its causes, conduct and consequences," said Sajid Javid, British Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Later on Monday, commemorations were also held in Mons, Belgium when a special event at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s St Symphorien Military Cemetery took place.

A Royal Marine and three soldiers will perform readings in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Cameron in the cemetery, where the first and last British solider to die on the Western Front are buried alongside the first recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Editor: yan
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