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International Day of UN Peacekeepers, 2023

Posted on by royvickery |

Although the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is usually marked on 29 May, in 2023 the event took place at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, London, on 25 May.

The Day was first promoted in 2003, and 2023 marked the 75th anniversary of the Peacekeepers’ formation.

After an introductory speech and prayers by an Orthodox priest, representatives of many nations placed wreaths at the the base of the Cenotaph.  Most of these were identical, consisting of shallon also known as salal (Gaultheria shallon) leaves on a base of cypress, and three roses.  In addition to wreaths commemorating service-people who had lost their lives while serving as United Nations Peacekeepers (100 in the last year), two wreaths were laid in memory of individuals: Count Bernadotte and Commandant René de Labarrière.  Folke Bernadotte was a Swedish diplomat who was assasinated while working on the United Nations’ first peace mission during 1948 Arab-Israeli War.  de Labarrière was a French army officer who is considered to be the first United Nations soldier to be killed in action, in Palestine, on 9 July 1948.

Final prayers were said by a Sikh priest, before the participants paraded off north towards Trafalgar Square.

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