UK honors war dead in scaled-back Remembrance Sunday service

Britain_Soccer_Premier_League_39048 Arsenal and Aston Villa players observe a moment's silence for Remembrance Sunday before the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates stadium in London, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
Britain_Soccer_Premier_League_13884 Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo holds a wreath during remembrance commemorations before the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_39317 A small number of serving and former Royal Marine Commandos gather, at the Commando Memorial for the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony, at Spean Bridge, near Fort William, Scotland, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_50798 A member of the armed forces is carried away on a stretcher , during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_71319 Seymour 'Bill' Taylor, 95, from Colchester, who served as an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy onboard HMS Emerald during the D-Day landings joins neighbours in the street to observe the two minutes silence to pay his respects on Remembrance Sunday, in Essex, England, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_40948 Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stands on the balcony of the Foreign Office, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_97610 Representatives of the armed forces wait for the start of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_10731 Britian's Prime Minister Boris Johnson carries a wreath, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_56817 Britain's Prince William looks on, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_32812 A view of veterans, ahead of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_27099 Members of the Royal Navy march, ahead of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_71855 A general view ahead of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_23646 Britain's Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge watche from the balcony of the Foreign Office, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_62290 Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, watches from the balcony of the Foreign Office, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_82329 Britian's Prime Minister Boris Johnson carries a wreath, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_42936 Veterans of the armed forces wait for the start of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_75905 Veterans stand, ahead of the start of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_72011 Veterans stand, ahead of the start of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_90715 Veterans stand, ahead of the start of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_98024 Veterans line up ahead of the start of the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_51247 D-Day veteran John Aichison, 96, centre, attends the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_43932 Britain's Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, second left, Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, left, former Prime Minister Theresa May, background right and Prime Minister Boris Johnson stand, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_94116 Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, right and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, sing on the balcony of the Foreign Office, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_01676 Britain's Princess Anne lays a wreath, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_62278 Britain's Prince William lays a wreath, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Britain_Soccer_Premier_League_61525 A giant poppy to mark Remembrance Sunday decorating the stands before the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_45710 Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stands on the balcolny of the Foreign Office, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_77424 Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stands on the balcolny of the Foreign Office, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_97658 Britain's Prince William lays a wreath, during the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, Sunday Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_16802 A small number of serving and former Royal Marine Commandos gather, at the Commando Memorial for the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony, at Spean Bridge, near Fort William, Scotland, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_81339 Veteran Charlie MacVicar, who served for 23 years with Royal Scots (Edinburgh Unit) pays his respects at the Royal British Legion Remembrance Garden, on Remembrance Sunday, in Grangemouth, Scotland, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_33216 Veteran Charlie MacVicar, who served for 23 years with the Royal Scots (Edinburgh Unit), walks past the Royal British Legion on his way to lay a wreath at the Remembrance Garden on Remembrance Sunday, in Grangemouth, Scotland, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
Virus_Outbreak_Britain_Remembrance_84114 A small number of serving and former Royal Marine Commandos gather, at the Commando Memorial for the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony, at Spean Bridge, near Fort William, Scotland, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
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LONDON (AP) — In a scaled-back service, Queen Elizabeth II led tributes Sunday to those from the U.K. and the Commonwealth who perished in wartime, as most veterans paid their respects at home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 94-year-old monarch looked on from a balcony at a government building above the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London on the 100th year anniversary of the memorial’s installation following the conclusion of World War I. The Cenotaph was officially unveiled on Nov. 11, 1920, two years to the day after the armistice was signed that brought an end to hostilities.

Following a two-minute silence at 11 a.m., Prince Charles laid a wreath on the queen’s behalf during the Remembrance Sunday commemoration. Others, including Charles’ oldest son, Prince William and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, also laid wreaths in honor of those who have perished in wartime. Leaders from across the political spectrum, including former prime ministers, were also present.

The public were unable to attend this year, with the event taking place during a second national lockdown in England, and were instead encouraged to take part in the two-minute silence at home.

In other years, the commemoration is packed with thousands of veterans and military personnel. In Sunday’s service, there were less than 30 veterans in attendance and everyone present observed social distancing rules though mask wearing wasn’t mandatory in the outdoor setting.

Though the service was very different, people up and down the land took time out to honor the war dead. Small services were permitted.

World War II veteran Seymour “Bill” Taylor, who turns 96 next month, usually attends the service but paid his respects outside his home in Colchester, around 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of London, with the support of his neighbors.

“It’s something that’s really special and it means an awful lot,” he said. “I shall remember it as a good day.”

Charles’ other son, Prince Harry, wasn’t present but spoke about what serving for his country in Afghanistan meant to him.

“Being able to wear my uniform, being able to stand up in service of one’s country, these are amongst the greatest honors there are in life,” Harry said in a podcast. “To me, the uniform is a symbol of something much bigger, it’s symbolic of our commitment to protecting our country, as well as protecting our values.”

Gen. Nick Carter, chief of the defense staff, said remembrance services still hold relevance today even though there is no one alive who served in World War I and the number of veterans from World War II are dwindling.

“We have to remember that history might not repeat itself but it has a rhythm and if you look back at the last century, before both world wars, I think it was unarguable that there was escalation which led to the miscalculation which ultimately led to war at a scale we would hopefully never see again,” he said in an interview with Sky News.

“We need to be conscious of those risks and that’s why remembrance matters,” he added.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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