Sierra Leone’s Presiden Julius Maada Bio has today launched the 2022 Poppy Week, celebrating patriots who served their country and humanity because serving is always a common currency that never loses its face value.
“We celebrate National Poppy Week across this country because we believe, as William Makepeace Thackeray once said that: “Bravery never goes out of fashion.” Like service to one’s nation, it is always a common currency that never loses its face value and it is always celebrated and honoured.
“At the end of Poppy Week, the nation will again join these patriots, the Sierra Leone Ex-Servicemen Association and serving men and women of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces to commemorate National Remembrance Day,” he said.
President Bio quoted Gary hart, the American politician and diplomat, who once said: “I think there is one higher office than President and I would call that patriot”, adding that today, they had gathered again to celebrate patriots who served Sierra Leone, the commonwealth, and humanity with great distinction.
“So, indeed, the lead-up to National Remembrance Day celebrations is, therefore, a special moment of deep reflection on the sacrifice by a few Bravehearts for so many rights across the Commonwealth and across the globe.
“From the bloody battles of the World Wars; the jungles of Burma and Congo; the deserts of Darfur and the towns of Somalia; the beaches of Monrovia, to the jungles and towns of Sierra Leone, brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice. They were each moved by what we can never explain but we will forever cherish and never forget,” he said.
He also paid tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, saying that humanity owed them an unpayable debt of gratitude even though they were gone but not dead. He added that they must also not forget those whose memories and bodies were forever scarred by their service, adding that they fought no less, and their service was valued no less.
“To the serving men and women of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, thank you for continuing to serve and to protect. To the ex-servicemen and women, we stood together to keep this nation together when civil war violence engulfed this country.
“Let me close by thanking the Remembrance Day Planning Committee for your great efforts in planning and organising events leading up to the coming commemorations,” he said.
In his statement, Lt. Col. (Rtd) Abu Bakarr Sorie Kamara, Acting National President for the Sierra Leone Ex-servicemen Association, said Sierra Leone had joined the Commonwealth family of nations every year to commemorate the Remembrance Day in honour of their compatriots, who laid down their lives in the cause of freedom and peace in the two world wars of 1914 and 1939 to 1945.
He went on to state that the significance of the Remembrance Day commemoration was a key in the corporate social responsibility of the Commander-In-Chief of the RSLAF and to remember and honour those who had sacrificed their lives in defense of the country.
“We in the Sierra Leone ex-servicemen association are very proud of you as our Commander-In-Chief and Grand Chief Patron. I want to assure you of our unflinching support and submission at all times,” he said.
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