In the month of November, we commemorate Remembrance Day also known as Armistice Day. This is a day set aside to pay homage to, and remember the contribution of, the soldiers who fought and died in combat in France, Egypt, Belgium, East Africa and elsewhere during World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1345). Annually on November 11, a wreath-laying ceremony is conducted to honour these soldiers who so gallantly served their country.
The Cenotaph, located at the southern end of Main Street where a majestic fountain once stood, was raised in memory of these now deceased soldiers. Built of marble, the Cenotaph stands 15 feet high with the words “Devotion, Humanity, Fortitude and Sacrifice” inscribed on the four faces of the monument.
On August 14, 1923, on the day of the 9th anniversary of the declaration of war with Germany, Governor Graeme Thompson unveiled this war memorial which was witnessed by many persons, as well as by Guards of Honour, boy scouts, and girl guides. It was subsequently handed over by the chairman of the Memorial Committee Mr. E.G. Woolford to Mayor Joseph Gonsalves (ag). The office of the City Council was now charged with full responsibility of the monument, and the hope was expressed that it would be the most honoured of memorials in the city; one which will be regarded by posterity with reverence and respect and which will keep green, the memories of valuable lives this colony sacrificed for a just and righteous cause. This monument, among many others, is regarded as enduring, everlasting and permanent as it forms part of our cultural heritage which is preserved for the enjoyment of both the present and future generations. The National Trust of Guyana responsible for preservation and conservation of monuments and sites urges all Guyanese to take an active role in ensuring the long term survival of Guyana’s patrimony by exercising care and respect at all times when visiting monuments and heritage sites. (By Bhavana Gossai Research & Documentation Officer National Trust of Guyana Nov 2011)