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Remembrance Day Marked in Accra   
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President Jon Evans Atta Mills yesterday morning joined Ghana’s World War Veterans to observe this year’s “Remembrance Day,” which was marked globally in commemoration of the end of the World Wars.

The Day is set aside to acknowledge and recognize servicemen who sacrificed their lives in First and Second World Wars for the peace of the world. The Day, observed on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of every year, commemorates the 1918 Armistice that ended World War I. that Armistice, which was renamed Remembrance Day after World War II, took effect at 11 a.m of November 11, 1918.

Dressed in their cherished ceremonial uniforms, 21 of Ghana’s surviving war veterans, reminiscent of their days in active service, marched into position at the Christiansburg War Cemetery, next to the Military Cemetery at Osu in Accra, to observe the Day.

At 11a.m exactly, a siren from the cemetery pierced through the atmosphere after the sounding of the farewell knell by the military, to call to remembrance the sacrifices of the ex-servicemen who fought in both wars.

The climax of the solemn ceremony, which was also attended by Ministers of State, heads security agencies, members of the Diplomatic Corps, traditional leaders as well as retired and serving soldiers, was the observance of a two minute silence during which all activities in and around the cemetery were halted.

President Mills laid a wreath on behalf of the government and people of Ghana, while Dr. Nicholas Wescott, British High Commissioner in Accra, laid one on behalf of the Commonwealth and the Allied countries.

Jean Pierre Gbipki Bennisah, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, laid another on behalf of the Diplomatic Community while Major-General Peter Augustine Blay, Chief of Defence Staff, laid one on behalf of the Ghana Armed Forces.

A wreath from the Veteran Association of Ghana, was laid by Air Force Marshal (Rtd) Odartey Bainoo, Chairman of the Association, after which Nii Okaija III, Gbese Mantse, laid one on behalf of the chiefs. Wearing artificial red poppy flowers, like all other dignitaries, representing the blood of those who fell in battle, the President also signed the Book of Remembrance in honour of all departed veterans.

The Gold Coast, now Ghana being part of the British Empire, sent troops overseas to fight in the two wars. The cemetery has the remains of 419 Second World War combatants, comprising 357 West Africans, 50 British, eight Canadians, two Italians, and one each from Australia and Poland.

A Memorial at the entrance of the cemetery commemorates 452 soldiers from the then Gold Coast who died and were buried in other places in the country where their graves could not be properly identified.

At present, many countries have recognized that the Day does not only symbolize the sacrifices of those who fell in the two world wars, but also those who died in subsequent conflicts around the globe, including those who have died in peace-keeping operations.
Source: The Ghanaian Times

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