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Local veterans of combat remember fallen comrades

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Old Bill Johan Cronjé honours the dead with the Moth’s salute at the wreath laying ceremony.

Old Bill Johan Cronjé honours the dead with the Moth’s salute at the wreath laying ceremony.

A handful of members of the Memorable Order of the Tin Hats (Moths) gathered Sunday to observe Armistice Day. The day which coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, is commemorated annually on November 11 and marks the truce signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War 1 (WW1) in 1918.
Although no WW1 veterans are alive today, they and those who followed in their footsteps and fought for their country, are still remembered by the Moths. Hand-made red poppies, symbolic of the red poppies flowering on the battlefields in Flanders, France and Gallipoli in spring in the aftermath of the war, were handed out to all in attendance. Canadian John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields makes mention of these corn poppies. Poppies are also sold annually to raise funds in benefit of persons in need, servicemen and civilian, as result of war.
After a welcoming speech by Old Bill Johan Cronjé at the Botha Shellhole, he rendered a poem by Clive Sanders: “Unless you’ve been a soldier/You won’t understand ….We are proud we served our country and remember those we’ve lost…” Cronje also reminded the audience of the order’s motto: “He who fought by my side is my comrade still.”
The memorial service at the Botha Shellhole was led by Nicky Coertze who reminded guests that there would always be war, lives would be lost and that every person who dies, is a family member of somebody. He reminded guests of the last battle to be fought on earth, the battle won by Jesus Christ.
This was followed by a rendition of the Last Post, two minutes of silence and the reveille, at which stage the national flag was fully hoisted. The wreath laying followed with wreaths laid on behalf of the Reserve Force Council and the Reserve Force Division, Moths, Voortrekkers and an organisation formed by former members of the now defunct Pietersburg Commando, Oudlede Bond van die Pietersburg Kommando.

Story: NELIE ERASMUS
>>[email protected]

Featured photo: Henk Lottering, Deputy Commando Leader, Doornkraal Commando and Dawie van Eeden, Head of Limpopo area, laid a wreath on behalf of the Voortrekkers.

Anton le Roux laid wreaths on behalf of the Reserve Force Council and the Reserve force Division and Anton Cronjé laid a wreath on behalf of the Moths.

Anton le Roux laid wreaths on behalf of the Reserve Force Council and the Reserve force Division and Anton Cronjé laid a wreath on behalf of the Moths.

Piet van der Merwe lays a wreath on behalf of former members of the Pietersburg Commando.

Piet van der Merwe lays a wreath on behalf of former members of the Pietersburg Commando.




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