President remembers Irish killed in overseas service and UN missions

President Michael D Higgins led the nation in memory of those who died in overseas service and on UN missions.

President remembers Irish killed in overseas service and UN missions

The National Day of Commemoration at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, saw relatives of the 1916 Rising leaders attend alongside politicians, military personnel, and families of the dead.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Joan Burton, and several members of the Cabinet joined the President at the annual service of remembrance.

The multi-faith ceremony began with a wreath-laying by the President and climaxed in a fly-past by the Air Corps.

The ceremony honoured all Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the UN.

Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Defence Forces, veterans’ organisations, the judiciary, and representatives from the North attended.

Also present were representatives of the Jewish faith, alongside those of the Catholic Church, Methodists, Church of Ireland, Russian Orthodox, Presbyterians, and Islam.

Rabbi Zalman Lent, Rabbi at Dublin Hebrew Congregation, said the occasion was a time to remember those who gave their lives for the greater good.

“Let us never forget the sacrifice of those who served and fought so bravely for justice, freedom, and the dignity of the human race.

“They were beloved and precious in their lives and they are not parted from their loved ones, even in death,” Rabbi Lent said.

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin read out The Lord’s Prayer.

A minute’s silence followed the President’s laying of a wreath, which ended with the firing of cannon.

The Cadet Guard of Honour then rendered ‘The Last Post’ followed by the Tricolour being hoisted to full mask accompanied by a drum roll before the national anthem rang out.

Similar services of commemoration also took place at Fitzgerald’s Park in Cork, Kilkenny Castle, Limerick, Sligo, and Waterford.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan used the event to outline Ireland’s international commemorations programme for 2016.

“The 1916 Rising took place within a global context of social and political change,” he said. “This included the international labour movement, the campaign for women’s suffrage, and the highlighting of human rights. The Proclamation of the Irish Republic sought to guarantee religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all.

“The influences of the leaders of the Rising had their source both in their local experience and their intellectual engagement in the wider world. Ireland in 1916 was, as it is now, a global island, a nation that both reflected and was engaged in the bigger international issues of the day.

“This is why I asked Ireland’s network of embassies and consulates — together with the Irish diaspora — to plan events which will engage our diaspora and friends abroad, as well as to present the Ireland of today to the world.”

The annual service follows the commemoration on Saturday at the National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge of the dead of the First and Second World Wars.

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