12 November 2023

Humza Yousaf among dignitaries to lay Remembrance wreaths in Edinburgh

12 November 2023

First Minister Humza Yousaf was among dignitaries who laid wreaths at the City Chambers in Edinburgh to commemorate Remembrance Sunday.

Hundreds of people turned out on a cold morning in the capital to pay their respects, observing a two-minute silence and a parade by military personnel.

The First Minister was joined by a Ukrainian family who arrived in Scotland more than a year ago, fleeing the war in their home country.

Speaking to journalists before the commemorations, the First Minister said: “This, to me, is one of the most sacred days of the year.

“It’s an opportunity for all of us, all communities, to come together, to reflect, to remember, and to honour all of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in order so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we cherish every single day.

“I am proud and honoured to be able to play a part on behalf of the Scottish Government.”

Holyrood Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, defence minister and former Scottish Tory leader Baroness Goldie, and Edinburgh Lord Provost Robert Aldridge also participated in the commemorations.

A military parade from Edinburgh Castle began the memorial, with current and former personnel from different branches walking in formation down the Royal Mile to the City Chambers.

Ukrainian Lesya and her children Marichka, 16, and Sviatoslav, nine – who was draped in a Ukrainian flag – laid a wreath on behalf of children who have lost a parent since the Russian invasion last year.

The trio arrived in the Scottish capital after the war broke out, with their father Koli staying behind to fight.

He was killed two days before the family were due to be reunited in their home country.

Hannah Beaton-Hawryluk, chairwoman of the Association of Ukrainians in GB branch in Edinburgh, said: “We have to remember. War is all over the world, all of the time.

“Our forefathers fought for our freedoms – we cannot forget that. If we fail to remember the mistakes of the past, we will never, ever learn.

“Lesya’s family are one of thousands that have experienced terminal heartbreak in the last 20 months.

Many more have made unthinkable sacrifices to maintain our freedoms. To them, and for them, we must say 'thank you', and we must remember them

“The loss of her beloved husband, and father to her children, Koli, brutally outlines why to fail to learn from historic mistakes creates nothing other than an unstable world full of horror, destruction and immense sadness.

“I know how proud Lesya is of Marichka and Sviastoslav, who today laid a wreath on behalf of all children of Ukraine who have lost a parent to this war.”

Legion Scotland chief executive Claire Armstrong stressed the importance of remembering those who served in the armed forces.

“Many people have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to sustain our current way of life,” she said.

“Many more have made unthinkable sacrifices to maintain our freedoms. To them, and for them, we must say ‘thank you’, and we must remember them.”

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