Georgetown : Several individuals and organisations on Sunday pledged their support to the Guyana Veterans Legion, at a Remembrance Day ceremony hosted at its Headquarters on Carifesta Avenue, Georgetown.
Following the feature presentation by President David Granger, the floor was opened to those in attendance to pledge their support. This saw the Ministry of Presidency and the Guyana Defense Force donating a total of one million dollars to the Legion, while other organisations and contributors pledge within the range of one hundred thousand and twenty thousand dollars.
According to President of Guyana Veterans Legion, Lt. Col. (retd.), George Gomes the event usually focuses on fallen soldiers who served in Worlds Wars I and II. However, recently the Legion’s observances have included military personnel who served and were injured following the two wars.
“Every year, we gather at this time and we wear our poppies to remember these fallen heroes; we must never forget them. It is our responsibility to ensure that our future generations are taught about the significance and importance of these annual remembrance and observances and to inculcate in them the need to maintain this tradition,” Gomes said.
He noted that last year there were a total of twenty surviving veterans of the British Guyana Battalion of the South Caribbean Forces. Unfortunately six died, but the Legion was fortunate to discover two more veterans. As a result, there are approximately sixteen former soldiers alive in the ninety plus veterans club.
Gomes expressed gratitude to the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League of England and the Royal Canadian Legion for grants provided over the years for the veterans in Guyana, and the surviving widows of those who died.
High Commissioner of Canada, Lilian Chatterjee in brief remarks shared that her father who fought for the Royal Air Force (United Kingdom), was a gunner of World War II in India, and as a result she never misses the Remembrance Day observance.
“I would like to honour the sacrifices made by the Guyanese soldiers who are here today…it says a lot when you volunteer to fight in a war in other foreign lands…it speaks to your bravery and I commend you,” the Canadian High Commissioner said.
Also in attendance was British High Commissioner, Greg Quinn who posited that such events like Remembrance Day are vital to a country, since it honours the sacrifices of those who served.
“…We do not honour war or death but rather we commemorate those who have given their lives in the service of our respective countries,” the British High Commissioner expressed.
In Guyana, Remembrance Day is observed on the closest Sunday to November 11.
Braving rainy conditions on Sunday morning, Government officials, members of the military and diplomatic corps along with members of Guyana Veterans Legion and many others gathered to commemorate Remembrance Day 2017, at the Cenotaph Monument, Georgetown.