A MOVING and solemn services to the heroes who made ‘the ultimate sacrifice’ took place on the 73rd anniversary of D-Day yesterday.
Hymns were sung, prayers were said and tributes were paid as a crowd of around 75 people paid their respects by the D-Day Memorial Stone in St Helen’s Parade, Southsea.
The event, which is organised by the Royal British Legion, was attended by veterans, civic officials and members of the public.
A procession of flag bearers from the Royal British Legion marched across St Helen’s Parade to the stone to begin the service, with Reverend Dawn Banting, assistant curate at Portsmouth Cathedral, leading the prayers.
Rev Banting spoke of the ‘fears’ that those who fought on D-Day would have faced in Normandy on that historic day.
She referenced the recent attacks in Manchester and London and paid tribute to those who had lost their lives in the atrocities.
It is them today that we remember and give them our heartfelt thanks for all they have done to give us our freedom, to give us all we want in this world. They paid the ultimate sacrifice.Reverend Dawn Banting
In her address to the crowd, she said: ‘No-one can know what a person can do.
‘That has been evident on our shores recently as we have seen an enemy from within seek to harm and destroy.
‘People are giving their lives to defend a nation, to defend people they do not know. They are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.
‘People are talking about fighting and training to kill, I would rather talk about defence. The defending of the nation, the Queen and the commonwealth.
‘It is them today that we remember and give them our heartfelt thanks for all they have done to give us our freedom, to give us all we want in this world. They paid the ultimate sacrifice.
‘We pray this day for the soldiers, sailors and marines who did not return.’
Following Rev Banting’s address, wreathes were then laid on the stone, including one by Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lee Mason.
Southwick will step back in time this Saturday in its annual tribute to mark D-Day.
The village attracts thousands of people as it goes back to the 1940s as a tribute to those who died on June 6, 1944.
Portsmouth is also set to honour its military during Armed Forces Week later this month.
A flag-raising ceremony on June 19 in Guildhall Square will mark the start of the week, before a free community event on Southsea’s Castle Field marks Armed Forces Day.