President attends Remembrance Sunday service
President Michael D Higgins joined hundreds of people at the annual Remembrance Sunday service to commemorate Ireland’s war dead in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, yesterday.
He heard the Rev Nigel Crossey, chaplain at St Columba’s College, Dundrum, cautioning against society’s increasing tendency towards forgetfulness.
Mr Crossey said forgetfulness had become “a way of life” in this age of information overload. “As human beings we so easily forget, especially the debts we owe to others.”
Mr Crossey said there was a real danger in such facile and fragile forgetfulness because it caused us to lose the most important things about ourselves.
“We have the freedoms we enjoy, the liberties we share, the choices we make precisely because others served and suffered and laid down their lives so that we might have them,” he said.
The congregation was not there to celebrate causes of conflict but to remember people, families, friends, comrades, lives lost and the lives of those left behind, he said.
He recalled how he had just moved to Kesh, Co Fermanagh, when the world was shocked by the Enniskillen bombing 25 years ago. The people who sought to return this island to violence were its “greatest enemies”, he said.
Mr Crossey said the presence of Mr Higgins at the event and the decision of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to attend remembrance ceremonies in Enniskillen and Belfast were “greatly appreciated”. Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina were welcomed to the cathedral by its dean, the Very Rev Victor Stacey.
During the service, The Last Post was played and the remembrance exhortation was read by Maj Gen David O’Morchoe, president of the Royal British Legion in Ireland.
He also read the Kohima Epitaph: “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow, we gave our today.”
The epitaph is carved on the Memorial to the 2nd British Division in the cemetery of Kohima in northeast India.
Afterwards, Mr Higgins and Maj Gen O’Morchoe laid laurel and poppy wreaths at the cathedral’s war memorial.
Earlier, lessons were read by Pam Roche, county manager of the Royal British Legion in Ireland and Britain’s ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott. Also in attendance were lord mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí, Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan and Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin.
The choral evensong was sung by the boys and men of St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir.