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Feb 10, 2015

Veterans Lay Wreath at Memorial Park Monument

Today a visiting delegation of war veterans from the Royal Canadian Legion were in the country to pay respects to Belizean veterans of the World Wars. In a brief ceremony at the Memorial Park this morning, more than one hundred legionnaires took time out to honour our local heroes by laying a wreath at the monument erected in remembrance. Mike Rudon was there and has the story.   

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Most dressed in full uniform, approximately one hundred members of the Royal Caribbean Legion were at the Memorial Park this morning. President of the Legion Tom Eagles laid the wreath at the foot of the memorial, paying tribute to Belizean veterans of the World Wars. But their tribute goes beyond just honouring those that have passed on.

 

Tom Eagles

Tom Eagles, President, Royal Canadian League

“We do look after veterans here in Belize, as we do in fifteen other countries in the Caribbean. The Royal Canadian Legion looks after the Caribbean veterans, we have, we will until the last one is gone. After the veterans, we look after the widows. It’s not a monthly grant, it’s not a monthly pension, its a small stipend. That’s what it is. We are very happy to do that. As my delegation can say at the convention, we usually take up a collection for this Caribbean area to look after our veterans. The members of the Royal Canadian Legion are very generous when it comes to that offering. That money is not to send me here…it’s not to send any official of the Royal Canadian Legion down here to the Caribbean. The money collected goes back to the veterans and the widows.”

 

The monument at the Memorial Park overlooks the resting place of three World War One veterans and a wall where those who served in those important are honoured. But how many of us even knew this was there, or appreciate the significance of the sacrifices made?

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“We sing about freedom a lot but we take it for granted. We take it for granted that a lot of people that came before us had to pay in some instances the ultimate sacrifice and lay down their lives defending our freedom. The Royal Canadian Legion had written the Ex-Services League in Belize and they got in contact with us to indicate that one hundred and twenty legionnaires were coming to Belize on a one day cruise and if we could partner in doing this ceremony. I think we don’t do enough in recognizing the contributions of veterans not only in Canada but especially our veterans in Belize. One of the things that the Royal Legion does, and I personally can attest to this because my grandfather was a veteran, is that they give a small amount to veterans as an annuity until they die, and when they die they give to the widows. So that it’s a significant thing, and of course the significant work that they do in lobbying for the rights of veterans primarily in health care and recognizing certain freedoms and recognitions like these.”

 

Bradley says that often we do not acknowledge the selfless service of veterans who served in World Wars One and Two and also in other engagements. And the respect and reverence so evidenced by the Royal Canadian Legion today should be an example we all follow, because it is now our turn to serve those who served us so well.

 

Darrell Bradley

“I think that a lot of them are older persons, they are bed-ridden, a lot of them cannot advocate for themselves and with them dying we lose a lot of history, we lose a lot of values like discipline. I have always admired Mr. Adolphus just for the way he carries himself as a disciplined soldier and I think that’s a value we could engage with more so that younger people in our society have that spirit that’s passed on. And we need to do more. I’m saying as government, as civil society to ensure that they’re properly cared for…to ensure that there is appropriate advocacy, things that are going on within our community that recognizes that whatever they need, we are able to provide for.”

 

The Royal Canadian Legion was today presented with the ceremonial key to Belize City. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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