Archive for November 14th, 2010

Brackers remember war heroes at unofficial ceremony

| 14/11/2010 | 35 Comments

(CNS): While the official Remembrance Day ceremony will be held this afternoon (Sunday) on Cayman Brac at the civic centre, around two dozen of the island’s residents gathered outside the District Administration Building at Stake Bay this morning for a quiet unofficial ceremony to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, keeping two minutes of silence at the traditional time of 11 o’clock and laying wreaths at the cenotaph in remembrance of the Brac’s fallen war heroes, whose names are recorded on the war memorial. Captain Arlin Tatum said he had originally intended to come to the cenotaph by himself this morning to lay a wreath for his father, who died during World War II. (Photo: L-R Moses Kirkconnell, Ventisha Conolly and Arlin Tatum)

However, after he told CNS that he would be skipping the official ceremony in protest of the time change, the small crowd joined him Sunday morning in support and to pay their own tribute to the war veterans. Thosepresent included the first elected member for the Sister Islands, Moses Kirkconnell, whose father, he noted, was a veteran of World War II.

Kirkconnell explained the significance of the two minutes silence at the time the peace treaty was signed after World War I in 1918, and at 11:00 am he asked those gathered to join him in two minutes of prayer and respect for the men and women who gave their lives to uphold our freedom. Ventisha Conolly, representing the Lions Club of Cayman Brac, led the singing of the National Anthem, Jonathan Tibbetts offered a prayer, and everyone read allowed an oath of remembrance.

On Saturday, following a wave of public support for Tatum’s protest at the change in time and venue, Sister Islands MLA and Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor Connolly released a statement explaining why she had changed the almost 100-year tradition, saying that as acting premier it was her duty to participate in the memorial ceremonies on both Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman. “This unavoidable and temporary change of time and venue should not detract from the pride and respect that we all feel towards those brave and valiant heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and prosperity. I look forward to honouring all our veterans and seamen and encourage everyone to take part in these Memorial Day proceedings on Sunday.”

Tatum, however, disagreed. “I hope this doesn’t happen again,” he said at the ceremony. “This is not about politics or politicians. This is about veterans who died. If it happens again next year, I will do this again if I have to come by myself.” He said he was overwhelmed that so many people showed up to join him.

Nola Bodden said she was representing her late father, Nolen B. Foster, who served in World War II and always laid a wreath in honour of all those lost in the merchant navy. He died five years ago and for the last seven years she has laid a wreath on his behalf. “This was always a sentimental time,” she said. “I know he’s looking down today and saying, ‘Well done!’ We’re supporting the veterans – all those who are gone and those who are still alive.”

Elsie Kynes, who describes herself as a supporter of O’Connor Connolly, said that in this instant she was just wrong. “This is not about Julie. I had an uncle and cousins that died and I stand behind Mr Arlin and Mose.” However, she said she was disappointed that only a few dozen people actually turned up Sunday morning. “I think more people from Cayman Brac should have come out to support them,” she said.

 

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