The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Central Band (Regimental and Dance), has held a spectacular concert to herald the 2018 Remembrance Day and POPPY APPEAL, which reminds the world of the consequences of war, the essence of peace and to honour the sacrifices of war veterans.
The concert, which was held on Friday, 5th October, 2018, at the Retired Commissioned Officers’ Club, Ridge, Accra, was graced by the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Akosua Frema Osei Opare, who was the Guest-of-Honour and the Minister of Defence and Member of Parliament (MP)for Bimbilla, Dominic Nitiwul, together with the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Lt-Gen Obed Boamah Akwa and some Service and Formation Commanders of GAF.
The military band concert, which has mostly heralded the launch of the Appeal, had the Central Band treating their audience with a combination of local, international, Regimental and classical tunes with a touch of nationalism.
On the 11th of November every year, the world celebrates REMEMBRANCE or POPPY DAY for this date in 1918, factions in the 1st World War agreed to end hostilities (also known as the Armistice which was signed between the Allies and Germany).
During the heat of the war in 1915, Lieutenant-Colonel (Lt-Col) John McCrae – a Canadian military surgeon, wrote a sad but globally popular poem captioned “The Flanders Field” – Flanders field which is located between Belgium and France, is a place where the red poppy plant grew in abundance, all over the graveyard where dead soldiers of the war were buried.
The colours of the red poppy – red, black and green – were wildly acclaimed to represent the blood of soldiers, mourning and hope for a peaceful world, respectively.
Touched by the poem and the scene of massively wounded soldiers, Moina Michael and later on, Anna Guerin, American and French respectively, successfully made and sold silk poppies worth about £106,000 to help war veterans.
With Britain and France taking initiative to wearing the silk Poppy to raise funds for those who have been incapacitated by the war, veteran organizations worldwide, joined in the Poppy campaign to raise funds for war veterans.
Ghana, on every 11th November, commemorates the death of all her soldiers and those who have sacrificed their lives in the quest for world peace.
The red Poppy is therefore worn as a symbol to remind the world of the horrors of wars AND to honour those who lost their lives or got injured in pursuit of peace.
The Veterans Administration, Ghana (VAG), with a membership of over 19,000 (including 121 World War II veterans and military widows), is mandated by Act 844 of 2012, to run the affairs of all Ex-Service personnel in the country, and operates in 10 Regions, 110 districts and has 3 Legion Villages and revenue from the sale of the Poppy supports VAG to live up to its core mandate.
Other dignitaries present at the launch included the Defence Attachés with the United Kingdom High Commission and the Russian Embassy and the chairman of the VAG BOD – Major-General CB Yaache (rtd).
By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Accra