War Veterans to be honoured on Remembrance Day

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The Cabinet Office officially announces Remembrance Day Service to be held Sunday, November 10, 2013 at 11a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, George Street. Pictured during a press conference from left are Andrew McKinney, Protocol Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Very Reverend Patrick Adderley, Dean, Christ Church Cathedral; Michael Humes, First Assistant Secretary, Cabinet Office and chairman of the Remembrance Day Planning Committee; and Bishop Cephas Ferguson, Chairman, British Legion Bahamas Branch.

Nassau, The Bahamas – Plans for the observance of Remembrance Day to be held Sunday, November 10, 2013 at Christ Church Cathedral and the Cenotaph Cemetery have been announced by the Cabinet Office.

A Press Conference was held at the Cabinet Office Nov. 7, 2013, during which members of the Remembrance Day Planning Committee outlined activities of the day, held to honour living war veterans, and those who have died.

Present were: Michael Humes, First Assistant Secretary at the Cabinet Office and chairman of the Remembrance Day Planning Committee; the Very Reverend Patrick Adderley, Dean, Christ Church Cathedral; Bishop Cephas Ferguson, chairman, British Legion Bahamas Branch; Andrew McKinney, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Reverend Gloria Ferguson, representative, Bahamas Christian Council; and other members of the committee from the Ministry of Works & Urban Development, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture, Bahamas Information Services (BIS), The Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (ZNS), and the Government Printing Department.

Immediately following the church service, a number of youth marching bands will march in procession from the Cathedral to the Cenotaph, where a short ceremony will be held, organised by the Bahamas Christian Council.

“Both the church service and cenotaph ceremony are held annually to honour the service of the men, living and departed, who served the cause of freedom in the two world wars,” Mr. Humes said.

Wreaths will be laid by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and representatives of the services.

Prior to this, the British Legion Bahamas Branch will hold a Pre-Memorial Service at the Veterans Ceremony on Infant View Road on Sunday, November 10 at 9:30 a.m. The Governor-General is expected to lay a wreath and bring remarks.

World War I ended officially at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 and November 11th was set aside in the United Kingdom, United States and France as a Day of Remembrance for those who had given their lives in the war. It was known as Armistice Day.

It was from this date, November 11, 1918 that the Government of The Bahamas made the decision to commemorate Remembrance Day on the nearest Sunday to that date hence, the selection of the second Sunday. World War II ended in 1945.

During both wars, The Bahamas was under the rule of Great Britain and hence, men and women enlisted to serve in various capacities. Their names appear on a plaque at the base of the Cenotaph, the monument erected in their honour.

A number of The Bahamas war veterans are members of the Bahamas Chapter of the British Legion, formerly known as The Bahamas Ex-Servicemen Association, formed after World War II.

Also associated with Remembrance Day is the wearing of the Poppy – a beautiful red flower said to be one of the few things, which survived in the battlefields of Northern France during World War I. The flower also represented the bloodshed of all those who died during that war.

Another significant aspect of the Remembrance Day Service is the Last Post and Reveille – the sounding of the final bugle call of the day, signalling the end of the soldier’s day, which can be traced back to when the British Army was on campaign in the Netherlands.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Band still continues this practice, which has become a staple at all State and Military Funerals. It symbolises the “end of the soldier’s day” in so far as the dead soldier has finished his duty and can rest in peace.