At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, hundreds of people joined the ICA at the site of the ‘Unknown Soldier’ statue on Liverpool’s historic Exchange Flags to take part in a special Armistice Day remembrance service to pay homage to the servicemen and women who lost their lives in battle.
Organised by the ICA as part of this year’s centenary events to commemorate World War One, the crowd gathered to witness a wreath laying ceremony and to observe the traditional two minute silence. To mark the start of the silence, the ‘Last Post’ bugle call was played – a fitting and poignant tribute for this special centenary year.
Local dignitaries were in attendance – Stephen Burrows, Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside, laid a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen; Jenny Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Liverpool Business District; Dave Southall, Assistant Head, Ministry of Defence, represented the Armed Forces; Lieutenant Colonel Tony Hollingsworth MBE, Chairman of the Liverpool Pals Memorial Fund and Robert Carter, ICA Director on behalf of the association and its members.
Commissioned in 1922 by the ICA – known then as the Liverpool Cotton Association – the statue of the Unknown Soldier was originally situated in Liverpool’s Cotton Exchange Building, before being relocated to Exchange Flags in 2013 to bring it closer to the ICA’s new office in Walker House on Exchange Flags – the spot where cotton was first traded in the open air in the 1800s. As part of the relocation project, a new bronze plaque was also cast to accompany the statue, dedicated to the 423 men from the Association who lost their lives during both World Wars.
“We are delighted that so many people have joined us here today to pay their respects to those who died for their country,” says Kai Hughes, ICA Managing Director. “Even though it has been one hundred years since World War One, I think that recent conflicts have brought home the fact that we should never forget and that we must always remember those who died. This has been a fitting tribute and my sincere thanks go to the hundreds of people who came along today to take part in the service and to the dignitaries for leading the tribute.”
The ICA’s links with Liverpool date as far back as the mid-1700s when the first-ever cotton auction in Liverpool was recorded. The ICA was officially formed in 1841 and has been at the forefront of the city’s business networks for over 170 years.