This week, humanist representatives are marking Remembrance Day in national and local ceremonies across the UK. Defence Humanists, alongside the Humanists and Non-religious in Defence (HAND) network, will also deliver their first in-person Remembrance Ceremony since 2019.
Humanists UK will be represented by Chief Executive Andrew Copson at the UK National Service of Remembrance held at the Cenotaph on Whitehall on Sunday 13 November. Humanist celebrant Julia Page will represent humanists at the National Service of Remembrance for Wales at Cathays Park in Cardiff. Iain Deboys of Northern Ireland Humanists will be among the humanist representatives attending the national Remembrance Day Ceremony at The Queen’s University Belfast. And Humanist Society Scotland will be represented by its Chair Ian Rogers at Scotland’s national event at the Stone of Remembrance at City Chambers, Edinburgh. Humanists will also take part in local Remembrance events across the UK.
Having organised online broadcasts for the last two years, Defence Humanists and the Humanists and Non-religious in Defence (HAND) network will resume their annual Remembrance Ceremony in person, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence.
Now in its eighth year, the ceremony provides a forum for humanist and other non-religious military personnel, veterans, family members, and everyone who has been affected by war to commemorate the fallen in a manner that aligns with their beliefs. The themes of this year’s ceremony are ‘Duty’ and ‘Service’, chosen in light of the recent death of Her Majesty the Queen.
Speakers include distinguished members of the humanist and non-religious community, as well as members of the Ministry of Defence. They include Belgian Armed Forces Chaplain in Chief Major General Hans De Ceuster, Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson, Humanists and Non-religious in Defence network champion Air Vice Marshal Rich Maddison OBE, patrons of Humanists UK, and members of the Humanist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care teams from the Dutch Armed Forces, UK Ministry of Defence, Royal Chelsea Hospital, and the Cadets. The London Humanist Choir will also perform.
Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:
‘It is so important for us to remember all those who serve or have served the causes of freedom and democracy in armed conflict and we are glad to be able to meet in person once again to do so.
‘The non-religious make critical contributions to the Armed Forces, and it will always be vital that they are honoured in Remembrance events. Defence Humanists’ ceremony provides a particularly significant time and place of contemplation for us, in a way that aligns with our own beliefs. ’
Humanists UK campaigns for inclusive public ceremonies that are equally open to and meaningful for all regardless of religion and belief. For many years Humanists UK and Defence Humanists ran the campaign ‘For All Who Serve’ to highlight the exclusion of humanists from the National Service at the Cenotaph. Since 2018, humanists have been represented by Andrew Copson.
For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.
To attend the Defence Humanists and the Humanists and Non-religious in Defence (HAND) network’s annual Remembrance Ceremony, registration is essential and places are limited. Register your place now.
Read more about Defence Humanists.
Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.
Defence Humanists is a section of Humanists UK. It brings together service personnel, veterans, Ministry of Defence staff, and their families to represent the interests of the non-religious in the Armed Forces. It organises events and community activities for its members and leads Humanists UK’s participation in Remembrance Day events and similar activities around the UK. Its sister organisation, Humanists and Non-religious in Defence (HAND), is a staff network within the Ministry of Defence.