Nicola Sturgeon: Remembrance 'Still Just As Important' Despite COVID-19

The Scottish First Minister has asked the public to take to their doorsteps at 11:00 on Remembrance Sunday to mark the two-minute silence.

Remembrance is "still just as important" this year despite coronavirus restrictions, the Scottish First Minister has said.

Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, told BFBS Scotland it is "really important" that "we all come together in that collective act of remembrance".

"The traditional ways of remembering are not open to us this year but the act of remembering is still just as important," she said.

Ms Sturgeon asked people "not to gather in events outdoors in the way they would normally do" but encouraged people to still mark the two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday by taking to their doorsteps. 

"Maybe there is something in thinking more about how we remember this year that actually makes that even more special because we are consciously thinking how do we make sure that we don't lose that chance… to remember all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice."

Many Remembrance events in Scotland have been adapted or cancelled due to COVID-19.

Scotland's first major Remembrance event – the opening of Edinburgh's Garden of Remembrance – was moved online and streamed on social media by charity Legion Scotland last week. 

A virtual service of Remembrance will also be broadcast by Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland on Armistice Day, 11 November.

However, services held in places of worship can proceed, as long as they are undertaken in line with Scottish government guidelines, but will be limited in size.

The national service at the Cenotaph, London, on Remembrance Sunday is going ahead.
The national Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in central London is going ahead.

Ms Sturgeon said her "heart breaks for veterans" who have missed the chance to commemorate VE Day, VJ Day and now Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day with their comrades due to COVID-19.

"This has been a big year of commemorations and anniversaries and we have not been able to mark them in the way that we would all have liked to do," she said.

"We also know that with every year that passe, it’s more important that we remember that we give those who still have direct memory the opportunity to take part in these commemorations."

Ms Sturgeon also acknowledged current Armed Forces personnel, offering "a very simple but deeply heartfelt thank you".

"There are no words that can ever properly convey our debt of gratitude to you and our appreciation," she said.

Despite the new England-wide lockdown, Remembrance events are allowed to go ahead in the country, as long as they are outside and social distancing measures are in place.

The national ceremony at the Cenotaph in London will take place, although on a much smaller scale with members of the public being urged to stay away and watch the service at home on TV.

You can watch the full interview with the Scottish First Minister on the BFBS Scotland Facebook page.