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Armistice Day commemorated in Walvis Bay

Armistice Day commemorated in Walvis Bay

Niël Terblanché

CURRENT and former members of various armed forces from Namibia and abroad gathered in the JC Harris Park in Walvis Bay to join the rest of the world in commemoration of Remembrance Day also known as Armistice Day.

 

Iconic Namibians like the hero of the Liberation Struggle and Robben Island Prisoner the late Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, an ace pilot Tom Pattle, an Ovaherero community leader Gideon Lehoho as well as the well known Morkel family fought in the Second World War against fellow Namibians like the personal driver of the Legendary General Erwin Rommel, Helmut Von Leipzig who was later captured by the Russians and spent years in a concentration camp before being released back home.

 

The day is commemorated at 11 minutes past 11:00 on the 11th day of the 11th month each year but in Namibia the day is commemorated on the Sunday closest to that date.

This year’s commemoration marks a year since the historic centenary event that was held in Paris France.

 

Remembrance Day marks the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days but a formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.

 

With the strong military presence in Walvis Bay because of the port and its strategic position in Namibia, the Remembrance Day proceedings in the town are always conducted in a very solemn fashion on the Sunday closest to 11 November each year.

 

The Namibian Navy Band as well as senior commanders from the various arms of the Namibian Police and the Namibian Defence Force attended the Armistice Day parade along with senior officers of armed forces from foreign countries present in Namibia when the hour and the minute struck.

 

As usual the parade started off at 11:1 when two minutes of silence was observed not only to remember those who paid the ultimate price in the two world wars (1914-1918 and 1939-1945) but also those who died on the battlefields of more recent conflicts like the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as African conflicts that was fought for the liberation from colonialism.

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