Patricia Scotland attended the ceremony at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates near Hyde Park Corner in London on Monday 11th March, which is observed every year on Commonwealth Day. She was joined by current and former members of Commonwealth armed services as well as high commissioners and other dignitaries.
Chairman of the Memorial Gates Council, Lord Karan Bilimoria welcomed the guests, followed by a speech by the President, Baroness Shreela Flather and the Archbishop of York.
The Secretary-General laid a blue and yellow floral wreath on behalf of the Commonwealth and reportedly said, “I salute and offer thanksgiving for all that those from the Commonwealth who served and made sacrifice in times of conflict, and those in the armed and other uniformed services of our member countries who follow that example of duty and discipline in the service of humanity and the values of the Commonwealth family.
“We see many of them here with us and we are extremely proud of them.”
The ceremony honoured the service and sacrifice of brave citizens from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific, who fought for our freedom.
This year, the service focussed on paying respect to Commonwealth citizens who served in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force during the First and Second World Wars.
On the 6th of November 2002 Her Majesty The Queen officially inaugurated the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill, in London. These gates have been erected as a lasting memorial to honour the five million men and women from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars. They also celebrate the contribution that these men and women and their decedents, members of the commonwealth family, continue to make to the rich diversity of British society.
Since Her Majesty opened the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill in 2002, there has been a wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill to commemorate the actions of all those from the Empire who fought for the British in the two World Wars. Recently this has been organised on Commonwealth Day.
It is usually attended by significant individuals including the Defence Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Staff. Ministers associated with the Armed Forces, all three Service Chiefs and the Senior Civil Servants are invited in order to represent their people and to show the appropriate commitment to our commemorative activities.
Queen observes Commonwealth day
Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, accompanied by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and The Duke of York will attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day – Monday 11th March 2019.
Organised by The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom and provides an opportunity to focus attention on this voluntary association of 53 countries and their commitment to promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law and equality for its 2.4 billion citizens.
The theme for this year’s Service was, ‘A Connected Commonwealth’, seeking to highlight the practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of cooperation between the culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations, who work together in friendship and goodwill.