The Gambia Legion, representatives from the Gambian Armed Forces, members of the diplomatic corps, dignitaries and members of the public, joined the rest of the world on Saturday, 11 November 2023 at 11am to observe a two minute silence in honour of the fallen men and women of the two World Wars. The occasion also acknowledged the innocent civilians lives that have been and that continue to be lost in the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.
During the ceremony, guests took turns to lay poppy wreaths to remember and honour the sacrifice of all those who, during the two World Wars and other conflicts defend and protect our democracy and our freedom.
British High Commissioner, Harriet King said ”Remembrance is not prescriptive, and when we Remember, we unite across faiths, cultures and backgrounds to remember the sacrifice of the Armed Forces community from Britain and the Commonwealth, as well as the special contribution of families and of the emergency services.
Importantly, and particularly given the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, and in Ukraine, we also acknowledge innocent civilians who have lost their lives in conflicts and acts of terrorism”.
When we remember, it is a chance for us to honour those who have defended our way of life;
o To bring communities together, irrespective of religion, race or ethnicity;
o To understand who we are and what we are trying to rebuild – particularly important in The Gambia today;
o And to learn – reminding us that we must all continue to strive for a better and more peaceful future.
In 2023 the focus for Remembrance in the United Kingdom is on remembering and honouring Service. Service, the act of defending and protecting the nation’s democratic freedoms and way of life, is rarely without cost to those who serve.
Physical, mental or emotional injury or trauma; the absence of time with loved ones; or the pressures that come from serving, highlight why Remembrance of service is so important.”
We remember in particular Gambian veterans from World War II. Gambian soldiers fought valiantly alongside British and Allied soldiers in both World Wars. I have seen accounts and pictures of these brave soldiers during a recent visit to the Kachically Crocodile Pool museum, which really brought this bravery to life. We remember these soldiers with pride, and the close relationship between the British and Gambian Armed Forces continues to this day. We will strive to enhance and strengthen this relationship wherever we can”.
The ceremony was made possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission team and High Commission staff. The Fajara Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery is funded and cared for by the Commission (www.cwgc.org) . It is open daily to the public as a place of quiet reflection and remembrance.