Humanists UK has been invited to participate in the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Westminster for the first time, following many years of campaigning effort.
Humanists UK and its armed forces section Defence Humanists will be represented at the ceremony by Chief Executive Andrew Copson. They have today welcomed the move towards a more inclusive approach, which recognises the contribution of non-religious personnel to the armed forces and the increasingly prominent place of humanism in British public life.
Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson, who will be the humanist participant in the ceremony, commented, ‘We welcome the Government’s decision to officially include a humanist representative in the national remembrance ceremony at the cenotaph and I am honoured to have been asked by Defence Humanists to represent them there.
Remembrance offers an opportunity to reflect on the lives lost in the tragedy of war and to honour those whose loss has safeguarded our own freedom. Increasing numbers of those who serve are humanists or otherwise non-religious, who take risks knowing that they have only one life to lose. I’ve met many such brave men and women in Defence Humanists and I will be thinking of them in particular.’
For many years Humanists UK and Defence Humanists ran the campaign ‘For All Who Serve’, to urge that the national Remembrance service be made inclusive of the non-religious, and not just the religious. The Defence Humanist Network is officially recognised within the Ministry of Defence and has been organising its own Remembrance service in London for several years now with Ministry of Defence backing and Defence Humanists has more members than several of the major world religions have personnel in the armed forces.
Humanist representatives have participated in the National Remembrance Service of Northern Ireland since 2010 and have similarly long been represented alongside religious groups at the Scottish National Remembrance Service in Edinburgh; in 2017 giving a reflection alongside the Church of Scotland and an Islamic representative. Last month it was announced that Wales Humanists will this year also participate for the first time in the Welsh national service.
In keeping with its longstanding policy, Humanists UK will continue to urge that remembrance services across the UK should be secular and fully inclusive occasions, but have welcomed the opportunity to participate in the National Service of Remembrance as it is currently constructed, out of respect for those whose lives have been lost in war.More Articles by Humanists UK ...