Speaking before the service, the First Minister said: ““No home, no school, no community in Scotland was left untouched by the devastating impact of the Great War, which remains one of the most brutal conflicts the world has ever seen. Scotland’s losses were, per capita, among the highest of any combatant nation, and the war’s effects on our nation were profound and long-lasting.
“Between 1914 and 1918, the First World War claimed the lives of around 145,000 Scots, leaving many more thousands injured or disabled and forcing friends and loved ones across the country to come to terms with the terrible consequences.
“As the curtain falls on 2014 Commonwealth Games, we acknowledge the countries of the Commonwealth we fought alongside during the Great War and it is fitting that this service in Glasgow Cathedral should focus on the contribution of these nations.
“From now until the start of 2019, we want people of all ages from all corners of Scotland, and those with Scottish connections around the world, to ask themselves and each other what can be learned from the Great War.
“Legion Scotland’s ‘Voice of Veterans’ is a special campaign to help preserve stories of Military life passed down through generations and create a lasting legacy for Scotland. I would encourage everyone who remembers hearing stories from those who experienced life during the Great War to contact Legion Scotland to be a part of this important project.
“Our journey of commemoration starts today in Glasgow with the Commonwealth-themed service at Glasgow Cathedral and Cenotaph as part of the UK Commemorations Programme, and it will continue on August 10 when we start the Scottish Commemorations Programme with a Drumhead Service, procession and memorial in Edinburgh.”
Kevin Gray MM, CEO of Legion Scotland said: ““Legion Scotland is very proud to support and be involved in the Glasgow Service that will commence four years of events around Scotland commemorating those who paid with their lives in WW1. We will join together and support local communities in taking the opportunity to get involved and show their respects to our fallen. And we would encourage any ex-servicemen or women to share their story with us as part of our Voices of Veterans campaign this year to help pay tribute to our Armed Forces and Veterans community and to share their truly unique stories with the remainder of society so that their experience’s will never be forgotten and that valuable lessons can be passed from generation to generation.”
Baroness Randerson will attend the first of a series of national events to remember the start of the war 100 years ago when she attends the national service of commemoration for the Commonwealth at Glasgow Cathedral this morning, to reflect the particular contribution the Commonwealth nations made during the First World War.
She will then attend the national service and candlelight vigil at Llandaff Cathedral in the evening. The service, which is being held jointly by the Welsh Government and Cardiff Council, will also be attended by the First Minister and the Leader of Cardiff Council.
Baroness Randerson said: “We are privileged to have a long and proud military history in Wales. The centenary offers a unique opportunity for us as a nation to reflect, remember and give thanks to all those who served in the First World War with such remarkable courage – both in the military and on the home front.
“We want to deliver a truly national commemoration that not only pays tribute to the brave servicemen and women who fought in the war – but which also lays the foundation for the future to help our young people understand the war’s scale and significance and how it has helped shape our country today.
“I would urge people of all ages and backgrounds to come together to mark and remember the lives of those who lived, fought and died in the First World War.”
Marking the centenary, the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond said: “In services today in Liege, Glasgow and London, I – and my Ministerial colleagues – remember the men and women of World War 1. They worked and fought together, regardless of nationality, beliefs or upbringing in a war which reached the farthest corners of the globe. We owe a great deal to them. They showed immense courage and made great sacrifices. Today, we remember.”