The symbolism of a ceremony yesterday paying homage to those who died defending Hong Kong in the second world war was striking. Beneath the towering symbols of the prosperity that those who died helped create, veterans, army and government figures joined Boy Scouts and international diplomats to remember the fallen on the holiday marking respect for our ancestors. As the city's leaders looked on in the memorial garden of City Hall, and with the International Finance Centre towering behind them, master of ceremonies Eric Ng Ka-lim, head of RTHK Radio 5, said the ceremony promoted life and peace. 'Today, we salute them. We will always be indebted to our noble fighters,' he said in the still of the morning of the Chung Yeung Festival. 'We hope the younger generations will never forget them.' For two minutes, silence descended over the garden, broken only by the laughter of those at the adjacent ferry terminal making the most of the holiday. The two minutes ended with a rifle volley and the playing of the national anthem by a police rifle squad. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen bowed and paused for moment's reflection after laying the first wreath. This was the first ceremony held by the government as part of global commemorations marking the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war. Mr Tsang's wreath was followed by those of veterans and others who represented them, along with consuls-general representing those from other nations who died defending this international city. Some bowed three times, others saluted, but even if they were frail and required a leading hand, all carefully paused to reflect on those who gave their lives. After a short morning tea, they dispersed into the city to enjoy their freedom.