Cayman veterans presented the first symbolic red paper poppy to Acting Governor Franz Manderson at the Government Administration Building on Wednesday.
The presentation by veteran Shadden McLaughlin to the Acting Governor set the stage for the veterans’ poppy campaign to get under way.
Veterans were also celebrating 100 years since the end of World War I.
“Today we remember those people who gave their lives to give us the standard of living we have today,” Mr. Manderson said.
“When we see these poppies, it reflects to me that we are blessed, that we have had so many people who came before us who gave their life for freedom to ensure that we could continue as a democracy, and to ensure that our way of life was sustained … we must never forget that,” he said.
The poppy, which symbolizes peace, compassion and hope, was chosen shortly after World War I as a token of remembrance for everyone who had suffered the tragedy of war.
This year, Cayman’s veterans are also honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice, in the form of a black wristband with the words “Lest We Forget,” and an image of a red poppy.
“The poppy is traditionally worn during the poppy appeal a few weeks up to Remembrance Day, but the armband can be worn all year,” said Andrew McLaughlin, president of the Veterans Association.
“We want the young ones to remember we have made sacrifices for the freedom they enjoy today,” he said.
Mr. McLaughlin also said when you receive your poppy, consider making a small donation to show your dedication and commemoration for people who have served.
He said the red of the poppy reminds him of the people that they left along the way.
The appeal kickoff also featured “Tommy – There But Not There,” a 10-inch-high acrylic glass silhouette statuette of a World War I soldier, standing tall, with head bowed and rifle in hand.
The piece, made by veterans who work for Royal British Legion Industries, was bought and donated to Cayman’s veterans by veteran Paul Ebanks and his wife. He said the silhouette represented all those from World War I and II who gave their lives.
Funds raised from the poppy appeal will go toward the care of elderly veterans, Mr. McLaughlin said.
“We are trying to get the Cayman community sensitized to the value of the veterans in this society, especially Cayman veterans who have given so much in the defense and preservation of freedom and democracy, which we all embrace here today so fully,” said veteran Loxley Banks.
“There is not the recognition within the community for the service they have rendered. Some made the supreme sacrifice, but some gave all,” he added.
He said there were a myriad of things that the community can do, such as coming out to help sell poppies, and there were veterans who need to be visited and comforted.
“Any kind of contributions that can be made to the veterans will be appreciated,” he said.
Poppies will be in all the schools and supermarkets, and anyone can contact the Veterans Association to make arrangements to have a small display for a donation bin at a given location.
There is no requirement to make a donation. The poppies are free, in remembrance.
“Please, come get a poppy and wear it proudly,” Mr. McLaughlin said.