Country remembers its war sacrifices
The Governor, Rena Lalgie, led a delegation of dignitaries in a service of remembrance of Bermuda’s war dead at the Cenotaph yesterday.
This year’s event, held on the anniversary of the end of the First World War at 11am on November 11, 1918, took place in glorious sunshine and was watched by around 300 spectators lining the harbour side of Front Street.
Members of the Cabinet were also in attendance. Representing the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance were party leader Cole Simons, MP Scott Pearman, and senator Robin Tucker.
The service was scaled down because of Covid-19 safety precautions.
The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Band & Corps of Drums played a selection of music, including I Vow To Thee My Country and Nimrod from Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
A minute’s silence was observed before poppy wreaths of were laid by Ms Lalgie, David Burt, the Premier, Lieutenant-Colonel Ben Beasley, the Royal Bermuda Regiment's Commanding Officer, Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, Acting Commissioner of Police Darrin Simons, and other dignitaries.
The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, read a passage from the Bible’s Book of Ecclesiastes before a prayer for “those who have given their lives to secure our freedom”.
Lance Corporal Kevin Darrell, one of the four soldiers who stood guard as part of the catafalque party, said it was tough to stay alert in the sun in full uniform and carrying a heavy rifle.
He said: “It’s very hard to stand still for so long with no shade. You have to drink a lot of water before you do it. We have to stay hydrated.”
But the 35-year-old from Southampton added: “It’s for our people – we have to honour our dead. What they did was a lot harder than what we had to do.”
Albert Fox, a former Sergeant-at-Arms in the House of Assembly, was among the crowd.
Mr Fox said: “The service was beautiful. It’s a pity the veterans weren’t here to march – there aren’t many of them left. But I understand the situation.”
He added: “The Regiment was superb and it was a fitting tribute.”
Colonel Chip Waters, 71, a Bermudian former US Army soldier, attended the ceremony with son Charles, 34, a former Captain in the US Army and a decorated veteran of the war in Afghanistan.
Colonel Waters said: “It’s a very important day. It’s vital that people realise that they might not be interested in war, but war is interested in them.
“The sacrifice of previous generations should not be forgotten and they should also remember that they may be called on to make the same sacrifice in the future.”
Captain Waters, 34, added: “The Regiment did a very good job. They were really good. It would have been nice to see them march, but I understand why that wasn’t possible.”
He said: “Having that link where we remember what happened in the past and try to avoid mistakes in the future is very important.
“Services like these keep things fresh in people’s memories. If we didn’t have these, it would be all be lost.”
Colonel Beasley said: “We want to show as much appreciation as we can for those who served before us.
“As Commanding Officer, it’s an honour to be able to lay a wreath on behalf of the service in recognition of all the servicemen and women who have gone before us, particularly those who never came home again.”
He added: “It’s also for those spouses and children who said goodbye to loved ones, never realising they would never see them again.”
Colonel Beasley said the RBR looked forward to being able to resume the normal large-scale parade to mark the occasion.
He added: “It’s the most important parade we conduct, irrespective of how many soldiers we are able to have on parade. But I am sure every serviceman and woman in Bermuda today paid their respects, whether they were in uniform or not.”