Remembrance Sunday honours the fallen

Friday, November 6, 2009

Johannesburg - Those who died in military conflicts will be honoured on Remembrance Sunday on 8 November.

The annual parade, service and wreath-laying at the Cenotaph will start at 2pm, reported

For the first time, a troop of 25 pounder guns will fire two salvos. The ceremony will also be broadcast nationally by SAFM, the radio station, for those veterans unable to make it to Johannesburg on the day.

Unification of military veterans was chosen as the theme, after more than 15 military organisations across the country were amalgamated under one banner, the South African National Military Veterans' Association (SANMVA), in September 2008.

The Bophuthatswana Defence Force, the Ciskei Defence Force and the Council of Military Veterans' Organisations - which has more than 10 members under its wing - are among those now falling under the SANMVA.

It represents nearly a million veterans in South Africa. The government also heeded a call by military veterans for visible representation in parliament, with the formation of the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans.

Remembrance Sunday will begin with a march-past by military bands, the South African National Defence Force, military veterans, the South African Police Service band and members of the emergency management services drill squad, followed by members of the community and some youths.

Military veterans will be recognised by the City and will receive medals. Executive Mayor Amos Masondo will lead a group of dignitaries, including senior SANDF officials, former service organisations and diplomatic representatives in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph.

Reverend Brent Chalmers, a military veteran himself, will lead an interfaith religious service. As is customary worldwide, people will wear red paper poppies on their chests, lapels or collars. The red poppy represents the lives lost in wars.

About 120 underprivileged children from the inner city will attend the function. They come from Ikhayalethu Shelter in Braamfontein, which caters for orphans and abandoned children, and Twilight Shelter for street children in Hillbrow.

The National Remembrance Sunday Service has been held at the Cenotaph since the inception of the War Memorial in 1926.

It will be preceded by a Freedom Regiments Parade along Mooki Street in Soweto on Saturday, 7 November, the second time that the parade will be taking place in the township.

The parade honours Joburg's Freedom Regiments, those military regiments that have been given permission by the City to march through its streets with fixed bayonets, colours flying and beating drums.

This privilege is a symbolic token of trust placed in a particular unit by the civilian population. This year, 12 regiments will take part in the freedom parade. It will be held in support of 21 Battalion, which has a long association with Soweto, having been given the freedom of entry by the former Soweto City Council.

UmKhonto we Sizwe, the Military Veterans' Association and the Azanian People's Liberation Army Military Veterans' Association (Apla MVA) will participate.

Following the parade, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony and a religious service at the Orlando Communal Hall. The Speaker of council, Nkele Ntingane, the patron for the Freedom Parade, will receive the salute.

Wreaths will be laid by the City of Johannesburg, the president of the SANMVA, and representatives of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Apla MVA and Azanian National Liberation Army (Azanla).