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Durban - Military veterans, dignitaries and others paid homage in Durban on Sunday to members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty.
Scores of people, including members of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association, Municipal Speaker Logie Naidoo and representatives of the US and UK consulates, gathered at the Cenotaph on Dorothy Nyembe (Gardiner) Street to pay their respects, by laying wreaths.
Remembrance Day is observed on November 11 to mark the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918.
“For many it [joining the war] was a costly decision,” said Colonel Craig Matthew.
Victor Muhlenbeck, whose grandfather served in the war, said he had never spoken of it because of the many comrades he had lost.
“War is an unnecessary sacrifice,” said Muhlenbeck.
Also paying his respects was Archibald Findlay, the KwaZulu-Natal District Grand Master of the Freemasons whose uncle was a fighter pilot in World War II.
Findlay said the Freemasons were especially targeted by the Nazis.
The poppy has become a familiar symbol of Remembrance Day.
“Through the centuries, as emperors and kings marched their armies across suffering Europe in bloody conflict, everywhere – on battlefields which before had been bare wastes – there sprang up the poppy,” said Richard Andries, chairman of the Durban branch of the South African Legion of Military Veterans.
The poppy was seen as symbolic, as it carpeted the graves of men who had died, Andries said. - Daily News