November is a month of remembrance, from the Christian celebrations of All Saints and All Souls on the first and second days of the month respectively, through the almost continual prayers for the Holy Souls at Mass during the month, to the very public commemoration of the dead of the two world wars and conflicts since on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. This year those two dates coincide this Sunday.
However, there are some people who don’t get remembered that easily by most of society amongst those who died during the Second World War. Fortunately, for many years in Belfast, one man has been pushing for them to be remembered. Sadly, at the moment he is too unwell to have organised the event himself and was not present at the wreath-laying ceremony yesterday. However, sixteen of us were.
Who are these that are forgotten?
It is quite simple, the homosexuals who were persecuted at the hands of those in authority in the Third Reich. The wreath was laid in the simple shape of a pink triangle. And laid at Belfast’s Cenotaph ahead of the main Remembrance Service on Sunday organised by the Royal British Legion and Belfast City Council. Although November is the month of the dead it does feel strange to be laying the wreath yesterday for two reasons:
- It is the Cenotaph and the main service of Remembrance is on Sunday coming.
- The wreath commemorates victims of the Holocaust not the war dead, per se.
I have argued for many years, not only that the pink triangle wreath ought to be laid on Holocaust Memorial Day, 27 January each year, but also that the NI Gay Rights Association and other LGBT Organisations ought to buy a poppy wreath from the Royal British Legion and lay it along with all the others at the Act of Remembrance on Remembrance Sunday. I see no reason for us to be self stigmatising by avoiding the two actual days of which we can play our own part.
It was also suggested to me that the timing — 10.50 on a weekday morning made it so that mainly only the ‘professional gays’ could make the event. I am sure that many others should have liked to have been there but being in the city centre not at lunch time makes it rather difficult for many. So a plea to the organisers… Let’s have it in the early evening when more people can make it (and on 27 January!).
- Remembrance Sunday: Sparing a ‘tweet’ for those who gave their lives (branded3.com)
- Enniskillen bomb victim’s son appeals for no more violence (newsletter.co.uk)
- Heroines honoured: Second World War munitions workers to be represented at Cenotaph for first time (mirror.co.uk)
- Lest We Forget … Remembrance Sunday, November 11th (theepochtimes.com)
- Are you wearing a handmade poppy? Can you support the Poppy Factory? (gyronny.com)
- VIDEO: New field of remembrance opens (bbc.co.uk)