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96 years Last Post Association

02/07/2024 - Speech by Benoit Mottrie, Chairman of the Last Post Association

This ceremony marks the 96th anniversary of the Last Post, which was played under this memorial for the first time on Monday 2 July 1928. Since then, it has taken place no less than 33,281 times, a record of dedication to the memory of those who died for our freedom of which the Last Post Association and the City of Ieper can be proud.

During that long history, the ceremony has known good times and bad times. In 2023, for the first time in its history, the Last Post Ceremony had to leave its traditional spot under the Menin Gate and moved towards the bridge. But during the restoration of this memorial, we continued our act of remembrance each and every day. The willingness of so many people to ensure that the ceremony should be allowed to continue, so that its unbroken record of remembrance could be maintained, was again humbling and inspiring. We are grateful to everyone who made this possible, as we are grateful to be back under the Menin Gate for almost two months now. We are also grateful to all of you for your presence here tonight.

When times are hard, people focus their thoughts and actions on the things that mean the most. Not only on family and friends, but also on the values they cherish, and the institutions and organisations that embody those values. The support we still receive today, shows that many people still regard the Last Post as such an institution. For nearly a century, this ceremony has stood for courage in adversity, for service not self, for willingness to go the extra mile. It has offered a message of hope that, no matter how bad things seems – and during the Great War of 1914-18 things must have seemed very bad indeed – one day the sun will shine again and we will emerge on the other side in a brighter and better world.

It are values like this that our organisation, the Last Post Association, will continue to defend in the years ahead. Our statutes say that our aim must be to maintain the Last Post Ceremony in perpetuity. And that is what we intend to do. 

Thank you.

The Last Post

Every day, at 8 o’clock in the evening. The daily act of homage.

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