Sunday, 11 November 2012

We Will Remember Them

Today is Remembrance Day.

At the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, a large gun boomed across Stanley Harbour to mark the start of 2 minutes silence.

The large crowd at the Cross of Sacrifice were silent and reflective.  Unlike every other Remembrance Day I've experienced, it was warm and sunny.
Marines, Army, Navy, FIDF, Royalty, Civilians, Tourists, Remembrance Sunday
Some 55 returning Veterans of the 1982 War might have been forgiven for wondering what season they had arrived in.   Last Thursday, saw vicious northerly squalls hit the Falkland Islands, delaying the arrival of the plane carrying the Veterans, and the Duke of Kent.  The wind also broke a lamp-post holding flags on the sea-front.
Blowing a houlie.  The lamp-posts couldn't take the strain!

On Friday, the islands were swept about every 20 minutes by hail and snow squalls, interspersed by bright sunshine.

However, an excellent evening concert by the Band of the Royal Marines, Scotland soon restored spirits, with the Cathedral full of people waving flags and singing songs like "Rule Britannia", and "They'll always be an England".

Liberation Monument

On Saturday, a commemoration ceremony was held at the Liberation Monument in the presence of the Duke of Kent, representing the Queen as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  All  258 names of British servicemen and women and civilians killed during the 1982 conflict were read out.  Afterwards, spirits were again lifted by a reception in the Veterans honour, with everyone in the Falklands invited.
Duke of Kent, left, and Governor arriving for ceremony.

It goes without saying that the Falklanders are very grateful to the Veterans and their comrades.  They are VIPs here, and welcomed into homes.  No sleeping rough on the hills, as in 1982.  The gratitude of the Islanders is undiminished after 30 years.  The Royal British Legion, and the SAMA (South Atlantic Medal Association) do much good work for ex-Servicemen, and are very active here.

Band of the Royal Marines Scotland
Marines music for the Cenotaph

"For their Tomorrow, we gave our today"

And so, today, as the weather turned warm and sunny,  the Veterans, and the Falklanders gathered for the last time on this Pilgrimage, and remembered those who had died in two World Wars.

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, 
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

John Maxwell Edmonds

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them".

The Fallen, Laurence Binyon



  1. I have enjoyed seeing how your community celebrates Remembrance Day. It is interesting that you had to import the military pomp and circumstance. I am sure the meaning of it all was heightened by your experience of the Falkland War. I am glad you have poppies as well. This was a Canadian tradition that is found throughout the Commonwealth as a few other countries. Do the Falkland Island children learn to recite "In Flanders Fields" a famous Canadian poem which a friend of mine who lived in Yorkshire for a few years learned they did not know it there when daughter had to teach it to her school class.

  2. Hi, and thanks. I'm not sure all the pomp was 'imported'. The Band of the Royal Marines was impressive, but we could have rustled up local musicians and military, at a push. :-)

    And, yes, the poppies are greatly in evidence. I'd be surprised if children weren't taught about "Flanders Fields". It was one of the readings at the concert, well-attended by children. The story of how the poppies became associated with Remembrance Day was also explained.

    I think the visiting veterans appreciated the efforts made.