On Tuesday, Belize City hosted the Dominion President of Canada’s Royal Canadian Legion (RCL), an organization dedicated to supporting veterans of major world wars and conflicts such as World War I and II.
In welcoming President Tom Eagles and representatives of the RCL, Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley reflected on the price of freedom and the burden the current generation has to never let that sacrifice go unremembered.
“Many times in our generation we do not recognize how those who have come before us, many of those have paid the ultimate price in defending that freedom which we can now stand and sing about, and bask in the joys of having a land that does not have warfare or terror.
So today it is a special honor for us to say thank you to those of the veterans who have come from afar, from Canada, but to also recognize our local veterans and to say thank you for taking up that mantle to defend our freedom, to defend the democratic principles and the values that we cherish in our society.
I would say there, that those of our generation should never forget that freedom is something that is defended, and that we may never ever take for granted the cherished values that we have in our society, even this morning as we can stand here in a land of freedom, to sing and to celebrate and to fellowship.”
The Mayor presented the keys of the City to President Eagles, who committed to continue the Legion’s service in the Caribbean, in keeping with military tradition of never leaving comrades alone.
“We do look after veterans here in Belize, as we do in fifteen other countries in the Caribbean. The Royal Canadian Legion looks after the Caribbean veterans. We have, we will, until the last one is gone.
After the veterans, we look after the widows. It’s not a monthly grant, it’s not a monthly pension, it’s a small stipend. That’s what it is. We are very happy to do that. As my delegation can say at the convention, we usually take up a collection for this Caribbean area to look after our veterans.
The membership of the Royal Canadian Legion are very generous when it comes to that offering. That money is not to send me here. It’s not to send any official of the Royal Canadian Legion down here to the Caribbean. The money collected goes back to the veterans and the widows. That’s all the money is used for.”
Belize’s Ex-Servicemen’s League takes charge of local veterans and former President Bernard Adolphus acknowledged the support of the RCL in its duties.
A wreath was laid at the World War II memorial, that gives Memorial Park its name, at the conclusion of the ceremony.