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SA members of World War I forces saluted during Armistice Day commemorations

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published22m ago

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Cape Town – Men and women who fought in World War I were remembered yesterday during Armistice Day commemorations at the Civic Centre in which the City honoured the South Africans who ­sacrificed their lives in the conflict.

Armistice Day is usually commemorated at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month and has been since the Armistice of November 1918 was signed, bringing an end to World War I, and memorial day activities take place around the world.

On Sunday, hundreds of people, including members of the army, navy and air force, together with dignitaries and diplomats, came together at the Civic Centre to honour those fallen heroes.

The event was supposed to be held at the Cenotaph on Heerengracht Street, the city’s main war memorial for the 25 000 soldiers who died, but was moved to the Civic Centre because of weather conditions.

Hundreds of people, including members of the army, navy and air force, together with dignitaries and diplomats, came together at the Civic Centre to honour those fallen heroes. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Walter Brewis, 95, the last surviving soldier in the country who took part in World War II. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said: “This has been a year of momentous changes, changes that affect every aspect of our lives. This ceremony, one that has been repeated every year for more than 100 years, has also had to adapt to these strange new times.”

Yet, Neilson said, some things remained unchanged: “Our commitment to commemorating the bravery of those who fought, lived through, and died during the world wars, and all other wars; our commitment to ensure that the values they embodied live on, and the enduring force of the human spirit.”

He said it was perhaps especially appropriate this year to remember those medical personnel who were at the front lines during wars and risked all to save as many lives as they could.

The commemoration was preceded by a procession and later a wreath-laying ceremony that included 95-year-old trooper Walter Brewis.

Brewis, who was with his family, told of how he became a soldier at 19 years old, and how he made friends during the hardships of World War II.

“Although it was sad, it was a wonderful experience,” he said.

Brewis described the war as “tough”. However, he survived it “through Jesus’ mercies”.

City of Cape Town commemorates fallen Military heroes by laying wreaths at the Civic Centre.The event was attended by veterans,families and members our of defence forces and addressed by Deputy Mayor of the City if Cape Town Ian Nielson. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
City of Cape Town commemorates fallen Military heroes by laying wreaths at the Civic Centre. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Argus

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