Honouring our fallen heroes
Surviving Second World War veterans marched on Front Street yesterday morning, as Bermuda honoured those lost in conflict.
Large crowds also gathered outside the Cabinet Building despite blustery conditions to pay their respects, as did serving Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers and police.
Governor George Fergusson met the servicemen, as well as 99-year-old Lillian Levon, the widow of First and Second World War veteran Joseph Levon.
“I enjoyed the parade today,” Mrs Levon said after the Remembrance Day ceremony. “I really hope to come again next year.”
At 11am, guns fired to mark the start of a two-minute silence, remembering those who died fighting in the 20th century wars.
Among those who laid wreaths at the Cenotaph were Michael Dunkley, the Premier; Marc Bean, the Leader of the Opposition; Jack Lightbourn, the president of the Bermuda War Veterans Association; and 94-year-old Allan Kuhn, who served in the Second World War with the Canadian Army's Grenadier Guards.
“It's very important to be here,” Mr Kuhn said. “It's very emotional. You get a lot of young people, too, and that's important.”
Music was provided at the event by the Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the Salvation Army Bermuda Divisional Band, the Somerset Brigade Band and North Community Village Band, the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band and the Bermuda Tattoo Choir.
Anglican Bishop of Bermuda Nicholas Dill led the service, expressing immense gratitude towards those who served their country, while also praying for a peaceful future.
Among the attendees was Raymond H. DeShields, whose father John served in France with the Caribbean regiment guarding German prisoners during the Second World War.
“I come to the parade every year to remember the men who fought for us, so we could live like we are living,” Mr DeShields said. “If they hadn't won the war, things might have been quite different.”
John W. DeShields was working as an ice cream maker on Reid Street when he was called up for duty, and headed to Europe when his son was still a child.
“We didn't even know my father had gone, as it had to be a secret. We were told afterwards,” said Mr DeShields, now 82.
During the war years, rationing came into effect in Bermuda, while the Island's inhabitants thought of novel ways to stay safe.
“I remember we tied brown paper bags over the bulbs inside our homes so the light wouldn't shine, in case enemy planes were flying overhead,” said Mr DeShields, of Marsh Folly Road.
Four years after he left Bermuda, John returned safely to his wife and four children.
“When he shipped back in, they had barriers up which you couldn't cross,” said Mr DeShields. “But when the men got off the boat, their wives and kids broke the barrier and went and hugged them anyway.”
Robert Hammond, 93, also participated in the march, having served with the Royal Air Force from 1943 to 1944 as a wireless operator aboard a Lancaster bomber,
“This day must be remembered, because of all those who fell,” said Mr Hammond, who is on holiday visiting his daughter, Robin Stubbs, a long-time Bermuda resident and the widow of the late politician John Stubbs.