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The Cenotaph

The Cenotaph
Traditional Chinese 和平紀念碑

The Cenotaph (Traditional Chinese: 和平紀念碑), constructed in 1923 and located between Statue Square and the City Hall in Central, Hong Kong,[1] commemorates the dead in the First and Second World War[2] that served in Hong Kong in the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force. It is an almost exact replica of the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London, UK (designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1920),[1] except that this one in Hong Kong has eight Chinese characters on it.

History

1945 liberation of Hong Kong at the Cenotaph. Queen's Pier is visible in the background.

The Cenotaph was unveiled on May 24, 1923 (Empire Day) by the Governor Sir Reginald Edward Stubbs.[3] At that time, it was located near the waterfront. Initially built to commemorate the dead of the First World War, the dates 1939-1945 were added later to honour victims of the Second World War, and the Chinese characters 英魂不朽浩氣長存 ("May their martyred souls be immortal, and their noble spirits endure") were carved in the 1970s to commemorate those who lost their lives during the Japanese invasion.[1]

Liberation Day celebration

During British rule, after 1945, Liberation Day celebration took place here on the last Monday in August to commemorate the Liberation of Hong Kong from Japanese occupation in 1945. No official ceremonies have taken place here since 1997. Unofficial delegations do mark events here, and the flag poles are occasionally dressed (for example in the month of April, 2011). But official ceremonies no longer take place as this date is no longer a general holiday in Hong Kong.

Remembrance Day commemoration

The Hong Kong Police Band at the memorial service by the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday

Ex-servicemen and Government representatives laying wreaths in front of the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday

The Hong Kong Police Band marching towards the Cenotaph for the Remembrance Sunday service.

The Remembrance Sunday observance in Hong Kong is marked by a multi-faith memorial service at the Cenotaph. The service is organised by the Royal British Legion (HK & China Branch) and the Hong Kong Ex-Servicemens Association and is attended by various Government officials, as well as representatives of various religions including the Anglican Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Buddhist community, the Taoist community, the Muslim community and the Sikh community. Although Hong Kong ceased to be part of the Commonwealth of Nations in 1997, the memorial service still resembles those in many other Commonwealth countries. The service includes the sounding of "Last Post," two minutes of silence, the sounding of "Reveille", the laying of wreaths, prayers, and ends with a recitation of the "Ode of Remembrance". The Hong Kong Police Force Pipe Band continues to perform their ceremonial duty at the service.

ANZAC Day

There are commemorative events in front of the Cenotaph every year on Anzac Day. The events are held at dawn and are attended by the Consuls-General (or the High Commissioners before 1997) of Australia and New Zealand.[4]

Flags

Prior to 1997, the Royal Naval Ensign, Union Jack and colonial flag of Hong Kong flew at the Cenotaph. Since 1997 no flags are flown except on Remembrance Day, when the flags of Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong Ex-Servicemens Association are present.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Brief Information on Proposed Grade I Items, pp. 53-54
  2. "Cenotaph". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Monument/en/trails_central1.php?tid=a3. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  3. "1923 Unveiling the Cenotaph", Gwulo: Old Hong Kong website
  4. http://www.hongkong.china.embassy.gov.au/hkng/HOME_ANZAC.html ANZAC Day - Australian Consulate-General, Hong Kong. Retrieved 25 April 2010.

Coordinates: 22°16′53.57″N 114°09′38.24″E / 22.2815472°N 114.1606222°E / 22.2815472; 114.1606222

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