Celebrate our heroes

There is a call for Barbadians to “big up” their own.

According to the Rev’d Father Clement Paul, “When it comes to our own, I think we do not build up them up enough.”

The Assistant Chaplain to the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) was at the time recognising the contribution of Legionnaires during the Barbados Legion Annual Church Service, held at St. Matthias Anglican Church, yesterday.

The Barbados Legion was formed in 1957, some years after the end of the second World War, a war in which many Barbadians fought and lost their lives.
“We have living heroes in the Legionnaires, in those who gave so much – they did it for love of country; love of humanity. Do we big them up? Do our children know about them? Do we care about them?”

“Legionnaires, I thank you; I want to thank you, you made a tremendous contribution… I want that we would continue to remember the famous men, not famous because they left a name behind, but famous because they gave of themselves, famous because they won something precious for us – our freedom,” Father Paul said.

Chairman of the Barbados Legion Council, Retired Lt Col in the BDF, Vere Owen Springer shared with the congregation that the prime objective for forming the Barbados Legion was to assist the then Barbados Poppy League in the disbursement of the funds collected from the sales of poppies.

“Some of the monies raised was sent to the United Kingdom (UK) to assist the war veterans while the majority was used to assist the indigent Barbadian soldiers who had served in the World Wars,” he recalled.

“Today, the poppy league still organises and arranges for the sale of poppies, while the Legion is responsible for the disbursement of the funds. All funds collected are now used for the benefit of Barbadian Ex-Service men.”

Currently, the Barbados Legion with a role of over 350 persons, is made up of former World War 2 veterans and ex-members of the armed services. With the funds received from the Poppy League, provided is a small monthly allowance for some 21 indigent legionnaires. Also, assisting them with spectacles, toiletries, medicals and with minor repairs to their houses.

However, Springer indicated that the funds collected from the poppy donations have been diminishing every year. He therefore extended his appreciation to the Barbados Government for providing the Legion with an annual subvention which allows for the programme’s continuity.

“We also have an arrangement with the Barbados Government where major repairs to the houses of indigent Legionnaires could be accommodated… We thank the Government for their continuing support in these trying times.”

“There always will be a need for a body like the Barbados Legion to assist in bringing comfort to our fine men and women who in their youth, put country first, to serve or to be ready to serve, to bring peace to this troubled world,” the Chairman further expressed. (TL)

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