Every year at 04:45 on September 1, a ceremony takes place on the Westerplatte Peninsula to commemorate the attacks by Nazi Germany on the Polish garrison there in 1939, an act that became the opening clash in a conflict that would go onto claim the lives of over 55 million people worldwide.
The ceremony lasts for about 1 and a half hours and following that all present are invited for a bowl of traditional pea soup. The event will be attended by some of the country's most senior officials and military and if you are planning to attend please be conscious of what you bring with you as there will be security checks.
While you can reach Westerplatte by car, it is recommended that you take one of the special buses which have been laid on free by the local government. Marked 'Westerplatte' the buses will run non-stop to the ceremony, leaving from outside the main train station in Gdansk at 03:30 and 03:40.
The ceremony at Westerplatte is just one of a number of ceremonies during the day. A second will take place at, what was, the Victoriaschule, the place where Poles were rounded up on the morning of the attack and brought for questioning and torture before being packed off to the Stutthof prisoner camp.
At 12:00, mass will be held in front of the Polish Post Office to remember those killed in the attack on the post office which took place simultaneously as the attack on the Polish garrison.
Finally a concert will be held on Westerplatte in the evening entitled The Polish Independence Concert and will feature some of Poland's best known singers and musicians performing traditional and cntemporary versions of songs sung by Polish soldiers in WWII. All of the events mentioned here are free.