Re­mem­ber­ing The Dead

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - (STAR Ed­i­tor Toni Ni­cholas)

Novem­ber 11 is com­monly known here as Re­mem­brance Day (also known as Poppy Day), a memo­rial day ob­served in Com­mon­wealth mem­ber states since the end of World War 1. How­ever, the month also re­calls mem­o­ries of some of the worst tragedies in Saint Lu­cia’s his­tory.

Re­mem­brance Day is when we re­mem­ber and hon­our the mem­bers of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. The day was specif­i­cally des­ig­nated by King George V on Novem­ber 7, 1919 and is also recog­nised as a spe­cial day for war re­mem­brances in many non-Com­mon­wealth coun­tries. Re­mem­brance Day is ob­served on Novem­ber 11 (or the Sun­day clos­est to that date) to re­call the end of hos­til­i­ties of World War I on that date in 1918. The memo­rial evolved out of Armistice Day, which con­tin­ues to be marked on the same date. The ini­tial Armistice Day was ob­served at Buck­ing­ham Palace, com­menc­ing with King George V host­ing a “Ban­quet in Hon­our of the Pres­i­dent of the French Repub­lic” dur­ing the evening hours of Novem­ber 10, 1919. The first of­fi­cial Armistice Day was sub­se­quently held in the grounds of Buck­ing­ham Palace the fol­low­ing morn­ing. The date 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 eleven o’clock in the morn­ing - the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.

Novem­ber 1 and 2 are also ob­served by Catholics and other de­nom­i­na­tions as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day re­spec­tively, in hon­our of the dead.

Saint Lu­cia suf­fered two mass ca­su­alty events in Novem­ber, the most re­cent be­ing on Novem­ber 10, 2011.

On that day a bus of pas­sen­gers com­ing from a fu­neral near Morne Sion, Choiseul veered off a cliff into the ocean. All 19 pas­sen­gers died.

And, in what was de­scribed as “Black Mon­day”, the worst hu­man tragedy in Saint Lu­cia struck on Novem­ber 21, 1938. On that date the Ravine Poisson land­slide dis­as­ter oc­curred after a hill­side on the west of the ravine col­lapsed. This re­sulted in a mud­slide that buried ev­ery­thing in its path, in­clud­ing a clus­ter of homes. The cause of the dis­as­ter was at­trib­uted to a del­uge of mud, loose soil and wa­ter brought about by pro­longed heavy rain­fall. The fi­nal death toll was put at 96.

Ma­jor Novem­ber Tragedies in Saint Lu­cia: 1914 Novem­ber 1 - HMS Good Hope sunk off the Coast of Chile - 26 St. Lu­cians dead 1933 Novem­ber 7 - Trop­i­cal storm - 3 dead 1938 Novem­ber 21 - Ravine Poisson land­slide dis­as­ter - 96 dead. 1981 Novem­ber 30 - Guyana DC 6B crashes at Vigie Air­port - 3 dead 1990 Novem­ber 29 - Bocage land­slide - 36 home­less 1992 Novem­ber 6 - Morne Du Don land­slide - 68 home­less 2011 Novem­ber 10 - Tragic ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent at Morne Sion, Choiseul - 19 dead

Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Kenny An­thony last Sun­day placed a wreath of pop­pies at the Ceno­taph at the Derek Wal­cott Square in Castries, in hon­our of Saint Lu­cian

sol­diers who died dur­ing World War 1. (photo by Jerry George)

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