Wreaths were laid by the Rt Hon Donald Wilson, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Minister for Veterans Keith Brown MSP, who is representing the First Minister, the respective heads of the Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, as well as representatives of Royal British Legion Scotland, Poppyscotland and other veterans’ charities along with members of the Police and Fire Services. There were hymns, readings and the Last Post was sounded, with music at the event provided by the Newtongrange Brass Band.
Immediately after the service at the Garden dignitaries, including the Lord Provost and Keith Brown MSP (on behalf of the First Minister), viewed the thousands of crosses planted in Scotland’s Field of Remembrance, created by Poppyscotland.
The Field of Remembrance was introduced in 2011 by Poppyscotland as part of a fundraising appeal mailing to homes across Scotland and has been repeated this year. Crosses with heartfelt messages of support have been planted and by Remembrance Sunday on 11th November the Field will contain 12,000 crosses. The initiative has raised £250,000 to support veterans and their families. There is also a special Afghanistan plot to commemorate those who have been killed in action during continuing operations.
Poppyscotland Chief Executive Ian McGregor said: “We are delighted for the support of the public once again, which has enabled us to create the Field of Remembrance, a moving visual tribute. Importantly, the initiative has brought in much-needed funds to Poppyscotland. Demands on our services show no sign of diminishing and we need to raise more money every year through the Scottish Poppy Appeal to continue to provide life-changing support to Scotland’s Armed Forces community.
“We are pleased and proud to again be working with our colleagues in the Royal British Legion Scotland on the opening of the Garden and Field of Remembrance to ensure that Poppy Week is marked in a fitting way.”
The Royal British Legion Scotland Affairs Officer Kevin Gray commented: “The opening of the Garden of Remembrance announces the start of the most important week in our calendar and both the Garden and Field provide ideal settings for the public to pay their respects to Servicemen and women, past and present.”
Individuals can plant crosses in both the Garden and Field of Remembrance. Other remembrance symbols are available too. There is a Sikh Khanda, Muslim Crescent Moon, Jewish Star of David and a non-denominational symbol.
The Garden and Field of Remembrance will be open from Monday 5th November to Sunday 11th November for public to view. Members of the public who wish to plant remembrance symbols can obtain them from the on-site kiosk.