THEY gave their lives for freedom, and yesterday the North East came together in dignified silence to honour them.
Poignant scenes were witnessed across the region as tributes were paid to the thousands who served and are currently serving on the frontline.
A two-minute silence fell at 11am, as the 93rd Armistice Day was respectfully remembered amid crowds of poppy-wearing onlookers.
At The Sage Gateshead, the silence was broken only by the sound of The Last Post, the traditional cavalry trumpet call.
Meanwhile, passengers and staff at Newcastle’s Central Station and shoppers at the Metrocentre in Gateshead also paused to remember the war dead.
Hundreds of others turned out to mark the opening of a new memorial wall in Sunderland.
The wall, next to the city’s Burdon Road War Memorial, was built using funds raised by Brothers in Arms – a group of families from Sunderland who have lost loved ones in conflict and training.
It bears the names of 20 servicemen and women who have died since the Second World War, and was made possible thanks to £100,000 in donations.
Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The new Memorial Wall has been a real community effort and it is a fitting tribute to service personnel who have lost their lives since 1945.
“The dedication from the fundraisers has been phenomenal and they are an example to us all.”
Tom Cuthbertson, whose son Nathan was killed in Afghanistan in 2008, said the Armistice Day service held at the wall yesterday was emotional.
Mr Cuthbertson, a founding member of Brothers in Arms, said: “It has taken two years of hard work to see today’s dedication.
“We have achieved a great deal over those two years and we give our thanks to everyone who contributed in cash and kind to help us realise our ambitions.
“This is a unique memorial and this Armistice Day dedication has been very moving.”
Schoolchildren at Barnard Castle School, in County Durham, also paid tribute by planting crosses in memory of pupils and staff who lost their lives in world conflicts.
Some 202 former pupils and masters died in the First and Second World Wars, and in the Falklands conflict.