Uniforms returned in force to the Cenotaph yesterday for the annual Remembrance Day Service. Several hundred men, women and children stood to attention for two minutes of silence at 11am before chatting to comrades young and old. The captains of three visiting Australian warships were there in their crisp white uniforms, a guard was mounted by an air cadet, a sea cadet, a Boy Scout and a Venture Scout with Girl Guides also ringing the memorial in Central. Veteran Mok Hon-pang, 78, turned up in his old camouflage fatigues, proudly wearing his World War II medals on his chest and a picture of Deng Xiaoping on the right side because 'he was a good Chinese man'. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa did not attend, but sent his aide-de-camp to lay the first wreath of white flowers at the foot of the monument to the war dead. Legislative Council President Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai followed as did other legislators, diplomats and representatives of the Judiciary, government departments, hongs and societies. More than 70 wreaths were laid this year. That was up from the 48 last year at the first Remembrance Day service organised by the Hong Kong Ex-Servicemen's Association as a community event after the handover. For the first time Jewish, Buddhist and Confucian prayers and readings were made along with the Christian blessings in English and Cantonese. Willie Mok Kong-sang, association chairman, said it had been easier to organise the second annual event as people became less concerned about being connected to a previously colonial event. 'It's been great to see so many civilians here and I hope there will be more next year.' Captain Lee Cordner, commander of the visiting HMAS Adelaide, said the event meant a great deal to him. 'We were invited to participate and we do so with pride and with honour and we respect the traditions that many of the local people wish to preserve.' Sea cadet Iris Yum Ka-yan, 20, said she admired the veterans for trying to save Hong Kong. 'It's important for the young to keep coming and learning about this,' she said.