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11 November 2021

Armistice 2021: Speech

Address by Benoit Mottrie, Chairman of the Last Post Association

Premier, Minister, burgemeester, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dames en heren,

This ceremony marks the 103rd anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that brought to an end the Great War of 1914 to 1918.

Last year, on this same day, for reasons that everyone will understand, it was only possible for four people to be present under the Menin Gate , to pay tribute to the men and women who died for the freedoms we all hold so dear.

For that reason, it is particularly pleasing to see so many of you back here again today.

Deze plechtigheid herdenkt de 103e verjaardag van de ondertekening van de Wapenstilstand die de Groote Oorlog van 1914-18 ten einde bracht. Vorig jaar stonden wij hier op 11 november met slechts vier mensen om hulde te brengen aan hen die hun leven gaven voor onze vrijheid. Daarom zijn we blij jullie dit jaar opnieuw met zovelen te mogen verwelkomen.

In life – both individually and collectively as a society – we all experience good times and bad times. The COVID pandemic, from which we are now slowly emerging, was one of the most difficult of the bad times that we have had to face during the past half century.

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 pandemic, and the support our association has received from all around the world during it, shows that many people still regard the Last Post and, above all, the values for which it stands as such as institution.

For nearly a century, this ceremony has sought to commemorate courage in adversity, service not self, and the willingness to go the extra mile.

It has offered a message of hope that, no matter how bad things might seem – 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.

De recente COVID-crisis heeft getoond dat de waarden waarvoor mannen en vrouwen vochten tijdens de Groote Oorlog nog steeds actueel zijn. Ook wij dragen vrijheid, moed, opoffering, solidariteit, respect en verantwoordelijkheid hoog in het vaandel.

Zoals zij tot het uiterste gingen, zo hebben velen onder ons de afgelopen moeilijke jaren het beste van zichzelf gegeven.

En zoals wij de helden en de gesneuvelden van 14-18 blijven eren, zo zullen wij ook de helden en de slachtoffers van 2020-2021 blijven herinneren. Misschien niet in plechtigheden zoals deze, maar elk op zijn eigen manier in de stilte van zijn eigen hart.

Dank u.

The Last Post

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

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