The First Minister Paul Givan has attended a commemoration service to mark 100 years since the inauguration of The Ulster Memorial Tower in Thiepval, France.
He joined a range of dignitaries at the commemoration, including elected representatives, French civil and military authorities, members of the military, veterans’ associations, members of the clergy and cultural organisations.
The First Minister said:
“I am immensely proud to represent all the people of Northern Ireland at this event. It is impossible not to be moved by what The Ulster Tower represents. It is a historical touchstone, which links the past to the present, as a permanent reminder of a generation lost, but not forgotten.
“It is poignant the tower stands on what was once the front line of the Battle of the Somme, in 1916. Today, the landscape around it still carries visible scars from one of the bloodiest offensives of the First World War.”
The 70ft tall monument was first dedicated on 19 November 1921. It was built to memorialise the service and sacrifice of the 36th Ulster Division, who fought both at the Battle of the Somme and throughout the First World War.
Mr Givan added:
“The Ulster Tower rightly pays tribute to those from our neighbouring streets and fields who fought, suffered and died together in the Great War.
“It provides us all with an opportunity to honour and commemorate their tenacity, courage and comradeship. More importantly, it keeps alive their spirit of self-sacrifice in the cause of peace and freedom.”