On Saturday at 11am, a two-minute silence was observed as part of the Remembrance Day Ceremony at Government House. The Ceremony was attended by twenty-seven veterans from all over the world. Remembrance Day or Armistice Day is held on 11 November every year. It commemorates the signing of the armistice at 11am on 11 November 1918, which led to the end of the First World War. On Remembrance Day, we remember those who gave their lives in the line of duty.
The Governor laid a wreath as the representative of the King to honour and remember all those military servicemen and women who gave their lives for peace and freedom. The Acting Premier, Hon. Kye Rymer, laid a wreath on behalf of all those in the BVI to honour and respect BVIslanders who fell in conflict. The Commissioner of Police, Mark Collins, laid a wreath to remember police officers who gave their lives. Ms Brenda Herbert-Stewart, US Army, laid a wreath on behalf of all military veterans to remember their fallen comrades.
In his speech, His Excellency the Governor, John Rankin CMG said:
“I wear my poppy in memory of my father who served with the Royal Air Force in World War II. And I wear it as a mark of my respect for all those, including our veterans here today, who have served or continue to serve to protect the rights of freedom we enjoy, including here in these Virgin Islands.
I would also particularly remember today Private Samuel Hodge, who was born in Tortola in 1840. His name and story should be better known to all of us in the Virgin Islands. That is because Private Hodge received the Victoria Cross, the highest British award for bravery, for his actions while serving in the West India Regiment in Gambia in 1866. He was the first, and as far as I am aware, the only BVIslander to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
His story is a remarkable one. He was the “bravest soldier” in his regiment. That is one reason why I continue to hope that agreement can be reached for a War Memorial to be built in the Queen Elizabeth II Park. To help remember Samuel Hodge and to be a place for all in the BVI to pay respects to those who have served in the armed forces.
We owe a huge debt to our service people, past, present and future. We will remember them, and I salute all of you who are gathered here this morning.”
Those wishing to watch the Ceremony in full, can do so on the Government of the Virgin Island’s Facebook page: https://fb.watch/oi71I9nK6Z/
Veterans residing in the BVI are encouraged to register with the Governor’s Office to be invited to future Remembrance Events. Please email Govoffice.Tortola@fcdo.gov.uk with your contact details and details of branch and location of service.