THE annual Remembrance Day service will be observed on November 8 at Christ Cathedral in honour of those men and women who fought for the country during World War I and II, the Cabinet Office has announced.
Immediately following the church service, a number of youth organisations will march in procession from the cathedral to the cenotaph in the Garden of Remembrance, where a short ceremony organised by the Bahamas Christian Council will be held.
Wreaths will be laid by the governor-general, the prime minister, the chief justice and other dignitaries.
World War I ended officially at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 and November 11 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 decided to commemorate Remembrance Day on the nearest Sunday to that date. World War II ended in 1945.
During both wars, the Bahamas was under the rule of Great Britain and 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 country’s 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 that 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 fixture 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.
The Cabinet Office appointed a Remembrance Day Committee to plan and execute the activities honouring the war veterans. The committee is headed by Michael Humes, first assistant secretary at the Cabinet Office and chairman of the Remembrance Day Planning Committee.
Other committee members are from Christ Church Cathedral, British Legion Bahamas Branch; Ministry of Foreign Affairs Protocol Division, the Bahamas Christian Council, Ministry of Works & Urban Development, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture, Bahamas Information Services (BIS), The Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (ZNS), the Government Printing Department, and other relevant agencies.