Bermuda remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice
“It’s a wonderful day – perhaps the best day of the year in Bermuda.”
That’s how retired soldier Sumner “Chip” Waters described Remembrance Day, which was marked in Bermuda and around the world yesterday – the anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Colonel Waters, 72, a Bermudian who served in the US Army, added: “It’s a day that we honour the veterans who picked up the fight before us in the First World War and the Second World War.
“I think that the way we treat our veterans is a beacon of light for others.”
The day was marked by a ceremony in honour of those who had fought and died for their country.
The Governor, Rena Lalgie, led a delegation of dignitaries laying wreaths at the Cenotaph in Hamilton to mark the 104th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Two minutes of silence were observed at 11am – the moment hostilities of the Great War ceased in 1918.
David Burt, the Premier, also laid a wreath, as did Cole Simons, the leader of the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance. Other dignitaries in attendance were Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, Karen Grisette, the US Consul General, Darrin Simons, the Commissioner of Police, Lieutenant Commander Michael Frith, the Commander of the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps and Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Crowds lined the streets in brilliant sunshine to watch the solemn ceremony, which began with a parade along Front Street, led by the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band and Corps of Drums.
Earlier, a ceremony was held in Victoria Park in which the names of the dead from the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps were read out.
Colonel Waters, who served in Europe during the Cold War, said: “That was a moving ceremony – names were read out of the people who were killed in action.
“I think today brings together Bermuda and recognises the sacrifices that were made to maintain our freedom and preserving our way of life.
The day was also an important one for serving soldiers.
Private Chanara Smith-Rookes, who played piccolo in the band, said: “It’s one of the most important events in the calendar that we have.
“We come here to celebrate all of those who have sacrificed before us, for us to be able to be here where we are now; for me to be in the Regiment.”
Pte Smith-Rookes, 23, from St George’s, who is a safety management system coordinator at Skyport, said she had a family history of band musicians.
She added: “What keeps me here is the camaraderie and it also keeps the music alive because otherwise there’s not a space for you to play music.
“This is also on a national level as well as an international level because we get to travel and play music.”
Corporal Orville Hall, 37, who was among six RBR soldiers attached to the Royal Gibraltar Regiment earlier this year to guard Royal sites in London, is a drummer in the band.
He said Remembrance Day was “very important, considering those who have served, have paved the way so that we can enjoy the freedom”.
Cpl Hall, a chef in civilian life and from Devonshire, added: “To think that they sacrificed it all, it’s definitely an honour to pay my respects and to remember.
“I hope somebody, some day, is going to remember my contribution.”