Better late than never
remembrance Husband Kevin and I spent Remembrance Day in Barbados and I wrote an article about it that I hoped would be printed in December’s issue of the parish magazine. As I had access only to a dodgy wifi signal, I banked on posting it to Alan McIntosh for him to be kind enough to type and email to Gary. Alas, it was a week too late – it truly was snail mail! Here, two months later, is my purple prose.
Remembrance Day under the palm trees
It was a strange sight . On the beach, holidaymakers were sipping long cool drinks, reading books or dozing in the sun while young army cadets in full uniform moved among them with trays of poppies in temperatures of 30 C and above.
Today, November 13th , in their churches and in the ceremony in Independence Square in the capital Bridgetown, the people of Barbados commemorated those who took part in and those who died in two world wars. In the square, watched by the statue of Horatio Nelson, the Police Band played and members of the Barbados Defence Force, the Barbados Legion, cadet companies and other uniformed organisations marched and took part in the service of remembrance which began at 7.30.am. to take advantage of the cool morning.
In the garrison church of St. Matthias, the 7.00 am service was packed. The sermon urged us to stand up for what we knew to be right and to remember that God was always with his people. The 11th (yes!)and recessional hymn was “ Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord” and we all went marching on.
The coral limestone church of St. Matthias is configured in the same way as All Saints Churhc except that the entrance porch is on the west side under the tower. Built in 1850, it has only a small churchyard mainly because, shortly after the church was completed, there was a yellow fever epidemic at the garrison and after a mass interment, it was deemed inadvisable to continue to use the churchyard. The military cemetery , close to the site of Nelson’s Baotyard, was opened in 1780. Memorial stones pay witness to the deaths of many soliders and sailors and sadly many children ,as a result of ‘fever’
The cemetery is also the resting place of all those who served king and country in two world wars – and their families. In a prominent place, next to the Sword of Sacrifice, there is a poignant memorial , marked by an anchor, to 70 Barbados merchantmen lost in the Second World War. They were all so far away from home.
And in case you were wondering if the cadets on the beach with their boxes of poppies were disappointed, they were not. It is amazing where people keep their change !