Today we remember those who fought for Britain and her allies. We remember those who volunteered, those who served, those who fought, those who died, all for the cause of freedom, in the fight against tyranny.
Today we mark a hundred years since the start of World War One. A hundred years ago we entered a hell in which millions of young lives were lost on both sides. A hundred years ago we began the war to end all wars.
But just a few years later the world heard the guns of war once more, and saw the hand of evil and tyranny. So today we also mark seventy five years since the start of World War Two. And we are honoured today by the presence of over 40 veterans of World War Two, men and women from Mandate Palestine who volunteered from here to fight for Britain and for freedom. We are honoured that you are here. We are grateful for your service. We thank you, and we salute you.
Today we remember those who served, those who lived, and those who died. Those who fought, and those who gave their lives in the service of their country. We do so in a country whose young people have also had to come to its defence, that has also buried too many of its dead at too young an age. Israel understands the necessity of Remembrance, and the gratitude we owe those who defend us and defend our values.
Our ceremony today marks the moment when the guns fell silent at the end of World War 1 in 1918. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
Today is a shared event across the globe. In hundreds of Commonwealth cemeteries across the world at this hour we come together in a shared act of remembrance.
Today reminds us of the debt we owe to those who came before us. It is an act of Thanksgiving by the present to the past. Today we make space by way of public silence to hear the call across the years of those who served, and those who died – “when you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow, we gave our today”.
Today, in a way that the citizens of Israel know too well, we stand here in this place at this time in the knowledge that there can be no identity and no security without a sense of history.
Today we give evidence to the truth that a society is woven out of the strands of collective memory. And that each new generation stands in a place such as this and learns anew how freedom was fought for and painfully won.
Today we affirm that memory is the best guardian of liberty. Thank you for joining us.