As the Falkland Islands commemorates the 30th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Falkland Islands, a seventh generation Islander explains the significance of Liberation Day to the people of the Falklands.
It is difficult to put into words the significance the 14th June has for the people of the Falkland Islands. It is our most important and significant day of the year. The sacrifice made by the British Armed Forces is never far from our minds on any given day but the 14th June allows us to remember, commemorate and reflect as a whole community.
Anniversaries such as the 30th are of course particularly poignant, partly because a larger than normal contingent of Veterans visit the Islands. They are of course always welcomed with open arms and are held in the highest of regard by all Islanders.
Each and every year there is an excellent turn out of people at the Liberation Day Parade at the Liberation Monument in Stanley, the Falklands capital.
On this particular occasion all expectations were surpassed as literally hundreds of people braved the harsh conditions, a mix of sleet and snow, to pay their respects. Let us not forget that the whole population of the Islands is close to 3.000 and Stanley’s, 1.800.
The Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force were represented and took part in the parade as did the Falkland Islands Defence Force. Local youth groups including the Girl Guides, Brownies, Rainbows and Scouts were in attendance at the service.
After a pleasant week of weather it suddenly turned to driving sleet on Thursday morning just in time for the Parade, shortly afterwards the sun was out and the sleet had disappeared like it had never even happened. Not the best conditions but as many people who stood there in the cold stated, it further makes you appreciate some of the awful conditions the troops faced when protecting our beautiful and unique home.
Five young Islanders and two Members of the Legislative Assembly attended the C24 meeting in New York City this Thursday to put across the opinion and voice of Falkland Islanders and to explain our right to self-determination. To say that I am incredibly proud of the work they are carrying out would be an understatement.
Thankfully I was born 4 years after the 1982 war and as such missed the horrors of the war. Even so the conflict and its effects have shaped me as a person and I am incredibly passionate about the Falkland Islands and the fact that I am a 7th generation Islander.
The small two bedroom stone cottage I live in housed my mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, great aunt and two close family friends for the duration of the conflict. The stone cottage with its thick walls provided some protection from the horrors outside. I have often looked through my father’s photographs and listened to the recordings of the shooting, shelling and yelling taken during the 74 days of invasion. All of which are truly shocking. I am incredibly proud of what Falkland Islanders have achieved particularly since 1982, the Falklands is an incredible place and truly unique.
The sun has now set on this the 30th Anniversary of Liberation Day. The official function taking place at the Falkland Islands Defence Force Headquarters and open to the general public will continue until midnight tonight (FI time).
All residents who were in Stanley on the 14th June 1982, will attend their special 30th Anniversary event, their Reception for Reflection, on the evening of 15th June.
Roxanne King, a proud Islander