Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams, has paid tribute to those who have ensured the sacrifices at the Battle of the Somme will never be forgotten.
The annual Somme Commemoration took place at the County Antrim War Memorial at the Knockagh Monument last weekend, with a large turnout of organisations and groups gathering to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.
Alderman Williams thanked those in attendance for their unrelenting commitment to commemorating the battle, and ensuring the legacy of those killed lives on.
The wreath laying was led by Mr Edward Montgomery MBE, Deputy Lieutenant, the Mayor and the High Sheriff, Mr John Lockett OBE followed by the Mayors from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council. They were supported by MEA aldermen and councillors.
Officers from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force also participated in the commemoration and laid wreaths.
Also present were Veterans Commissioner Danny Kinahan, MPs, MLAs, Royal British Legion branches from Carrickfergus, Larne and Whiteabbey, veterans groups, uniformed groups, Orange Order district and local lodges, Friends of the 36th Ulster Division and other community bodies,
The Royal Irish Regiment provided the Memorial Guard, Piper and Bugler.
After the Act of Remembrance, under Parade Marshall, Billy Crozier, Service, Ex-service and other organisations paraded along Monument Road, where the salute was taken by the Deputy Lieutenant, Mayor and High Sheriff.
The Mayor said that the Somme had become symbolic of the bravery and sacrifice during the First World War, adding:
“I want to thank all those involved in the Battle of the Somme commemoration, who came together to reflect on the huge sacrifices that were made.
“The cost that was paid must never be forgotten, and it is critical that we reflect on that time when so many gave their lives for the liberty we enjoy today.
“Credit to our local organisations and partners for their efforts and commitment to remember those who paid the ultimate price at the Somme.”
The Mayor concluded: “Almost every community across County Antrim was affected by the loss of men who had gone to war.
“These commemorations are a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of those who served so bravely and selflessly.
“In October this year it will be a century since the foundation stone was laid at the Knockagh Monument, which was finally completed in 1936. The legacy of those who persevered to make the monument a reality, and who kept the faith in honouring the fallen, should be an inspiration to us all.”