Higgins calls for 'solidarity' among nations as he honours the fallen Irish
President Michael D Higgins led Ireland's 100-year Armistice commemoration -paying tribute to the 200,000 Irish soldiers who fought in World War I, and calling for renewed "solidarity" among nations.
The President laid a wreath honouring Ireland's fallen soldiers - 49,000 brave souls from North and South who had fought for global liberation beyond the bounds of politics or nationalism.
Irish and British dignitaries joined representatives from across the world at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, to remember the ultimate sacrifice the soldiers had made. Among the crowds were people whose relatives died in the conflict.
Victoria Cross commemorative plaques were unveiled in memory of five soldiers, from Dublin, Wicklow, Sligo, Antrim and Down, who perished.
Their names and valour had long since been forgotten in their nation of birth. But yesterday, finally, they were honoured on Irish soil, as they were posthumously awarded the cross - the highest British military award for gallantry.
Culture Minister Josepha Madigan laid a wreath in honour of one of the soldiers, Private Martin Moffat, from the Leinster Regiment.
In his address, Mr Higgins said: "We remember, in particular, the 200,000 men from across the island of Ireland, North and south, east and west, who served in that war, and we call to mind in a special way the tens of thousands who never returned home, who remain forever in the soil of Belgium, France, Greece and Turkey."
He said while some Irish soldiers returned from the front to fight in "our own battle for national independence", others had come home to "experience a lack of understanding of either their service or their wounds, and would struggle to find their place in a rapidly changing Ireland".
"For many years, there was an uncertainty, even a reticence, to recognise the human reality of World War I, and those who fought and died in it," he added. "In our public history, the reticence was reflected by a form of official amnesia that left a blank space in our public memory.
"That has now changed, as citizens across our island have begun to discover a greater, and perhaps too-long delayed, insight into the experience of their grandparents, great-grandparents and neighbours."
Quoting Martin Luther King, Mr Higgins noted we continue to live in "a world gone mad on war", "a world in which, more than at any other time, so many people are subject to atrocities, to famine, to starvation and to displacement and exile".
He called on all nations to "rededicate ourselves to the cause of peace". "Let us recapture that rare spirit of mutual solidarity, that recognition of our common humanity, and let us once again resolve to build together a more just and equal world, free from the terrors of war."