The 72nd Remembrance Day has been marked with a solemn service and a wreath laying ceremony at the Christianborg War Cemetery, Osu, Accra, on Saturday, the 11th November, 2017 to commemorate the sad demise of the soldiers lost to the two world wars the world has experienced.
The memorial was held at the entrance of the graveyard, to commemorate 452 soldiers from the Gold Coast who died and were buried elsewhere in the country, whereas the cemetery contains 419 burial places of the 2nd World War casualties who comprise of 357 West Africans, 50 British, 8 Canadians, 2 Italians, 1 Australian and 1 Polish.
Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.
Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. After World War II, the Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day to remember those who were killed in both World Wars and instituted as National Day of Remembrance.
Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning.
‘At the 11th hour’ refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am, the First World War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.
In Accra, a cenotaph “TO THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER” has been erected at the Independence Square to commiserate with the 58 soldiers from the Gold Coast, who died during the World War I and II, whose graves could not be traced.
Present at the service as the Guest-of-Honour was the President, HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, who, on behalf of the people of Ghana, laid a wreath to honour the ultimate sacrifices made by gallant soldiers in all wars, including peacekeeping duties.
Other wreaths were laid by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, High Commissioner Pabli Musaka Tendai, of Zimbabwe, UK High Commissioner Ian Walker for Commonwealth Nations and Allied countries, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Lt Gen Obed Boamah Akwa, for the Security Services, Nii Okwei Kinkah VI, Osumantse and Maj Gen CB Yaatseh (rtd) of the Veterans Association of Ghana.
Lawrence Binyon (1869-1943) of England, wrote these verses to honour the departed soldiers: “they went into battle, they were young, straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted. They fell with their faces to the foe”.
“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”.
By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Osu, Accra