The poppy symbolises peace, compassion and hope and shortly after World War I was chosen as a token of remembrance for everyone who has suffered the tragedy of War.
In the autumn of each year the Cayman Islands Veteran Association launches its annual fundraising campaign by pinning the first poppy on the Governor of the Cayman Islands. This signifies the beginning of the Poppy campaign in which all patriotic people in the Cayman Islands join him in proudly wearing their Poppy and showing the rest of the world that they remember – Freedom comes with a price.
As many of you are aware, Poppies are offered at schools, supermarkets, the new government building, corporate offices and other venues and kind donations are accepted in return.
Donations received from the Poppy Appeal Campaign are the major source of income for the nonprofit Cayman Islands Veteran Association. These monies are used locally to assist our members and their widows to help defray such expenses as overseas medical care, emergency alert devices, mobility aids, care-givers, appliances, groceries, home repairs and funeral expenses. The members who receive help range from the elderly who are on fixed incomes all the way to younger veterans who hit a bump in the road. In the spirit of the Uniformed Services, we strive to take care of our own.
The Poppy Appeal concludes each year with the Remembrance Day Services in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac when those Caymanians who fell in the Second World War are particularly remembered.
There is no more noble service than to serve in the forces that protect freedom. After the conflict is over and the world is at peace- far too often the defenders are forgotten and the thought of their sacrifices diminish over time. To leave the safety and security of one’s family and homeland is truly a sacrifice. Some of our veterans served right here on our own Island in whatever capacity was required of them- including the Cayman Islands Home Guard. Other Caymanians (more than 200) served in the Trinidad Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve protecting and supporting the convoys that provided the crucial task of shipping oil to Great Britain – a vital undertaking since Trinidad was the only source of oil available to Great Britain at the beginning of the war. All those who served have one thing in common – a selfless desire to stand and defend their way of life against those who would rule you.
The more fortunate ones return home to their families and friends and usually go on to lead unassuming lives. Not asking for any special recognition or desiring any type of hero status they are happy to be alive and often reflect on those who were not so lucky – in their own private way. Although many will not come forward to ask for help it is the mission of the CIVA to seek these heroes out and ensure they are able to enjoy a full life and in their declining years live with a certain level of dignity. With our sparse resources this usually means help with medical bills and a few groceries. In extreme cases we are able to step in and ensure their living conditions are secure and sanitary.
For these reasons we have organised a second fundraising event in an attempt to sustain and possibly increase the level of services we can offer veterans. The inaugural event will be held at the Marriott Hotel on Saturday, 20 October, (see separate advertisement in Friday’s Cayman Compass for more details). This dinner/dance will be held to full military etiquette and an explanation will be given for each part of the dining ceremony. This will represent a chance for former service members to reminisce on the camaraderie we have shared at past events and even more impressive an opportunity for members of the general public to get a behind the scenes look into some of the mystique surrounding military formalities. This is a black tie event and we encourage all former uniformed members to wear their best dress uniform. There will be several surprises throughout the night and we will end the evening with an opportunity to dance the night away!
The Cayman Islands Veterans Association is a charitable, nonprofit organisation that seeks to ensure that every ex-serviceman or woman in the Cayman Islands has someone to whom they can turn for help when they need it.
Although there are still 10 members who served in the Second World War, CIVA is not just for war veterans! In fact, membership to the association is open to all past serving members of the military forces (or merchant naval forces in war zones) of any commonwealth or allied country. At present our membership stands at 55 with veterans who have served in many operations from the Second World War through Korea, Vietnam, the Falklands War, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
CIVA is an Association of like-minded members of all ages, who share similar stories and memories of years gone by. Veterans come from all walks of life and have served in the armed forces in many different countries. It is this blend of experiences that makes membership in this association so unique.
CIVA is a member of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League. The RCEL’s Patron is Her Majesty the Queen. The Governor is the Patron of CIVA. The Cayman Islands Veterans Association also has close ties with the Royal Canadian Legion.