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Three cheers!

marciadottin, [email protected]

Three cheers!

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THREE LUSTY CHEERS went up and military hats were raised for the 47th time in independent Barbados as the country celebrated yesterday with a mix of fanfare and military precision.
Sixty-six officers and 898 other members of armed and unarmed units, appropriately led by the country’s ceremonial and political leaders, paid tribute to 47 years of nationhood in an hour-and-15-minute long parade at the historic Garrison, part of the island’s World Heritage Site.
At 8 a.m. sharp Barbados’ head of state Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave arrived in the company of two divisions, two rearguards, a bugler, a standard bearer and a swordsman, causing the waiting crowd to stand to attention for the first rendition of the National Anthem.
The parade had begun under the command of Colonel Glyne Grannum, a 28-year veteran of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF), and Sir Elliott climbed into a ceremonial Land Rover and inspected those drawn from the armed ranks of the BDF, the Royal Barbados Police Force and Barbados Cadet Corps; as well as the unarmed units of the Boys’ Scouts Association,
St John Ambulance Brigade, Red Cross Society, National Conservation Commission,
Fire Service, BDF Sports Programme, Prison Service, Government Security Guard Service, Youth Service, Girls’ Guides Association and the Landship Association.
As hundreds ringed the parade square on a clear, warm morning, those detachments, whose respective flags fluttered in the breeze, marched in slow and quick time accompanied by the mass bands of the police, BDF and cadet corps.  
Secured by other police and BDF units keeping a quiet vigil just outside the parade square, the audience, including Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, members of Cabinet, retired military officers and members of the diplomatic corps were treated to a parade that also featured the Barbados Legion, a small detachment from the Royal Navy and the Police Mounted Troop.
It was also a big day for the Barbados Landship as it celebrated 150 years of existence, while showing that its traditions were safely being ushered into the future via the ceremonial and intricate plaiting of the Maypole.
Others saluted Barbados in various forms, and included Monsignor Harcourt Blackett with prayers, and students Gabrielle Thomas-Marshall and Edwin Workman reciting the National Pledge.
These climaxed with three loud cheers by the armed and unarmed units, the final rendition of the National Anthem, and a 21-gun salute.
By then it was time for the Governor General to depart, followed by a final march-off by the various detachments to Government Headquarters on Bay Street for a salute to the Prime Minister before going to Heroes Square, crossing the Chamberlain Bridge and turning all eyes right to the Cenotaph in memory of the fallen.
Before the parade ended just outside Independence Square, local and visiting observers at the Garrison, Bay Street and Bridgetown were treated to songs by the mass bands, including Sach Moore’s Proud Barbadian, the classic Semper Fidelis, folk songs like Bromley and See Ma Little Brown Girl, and the evergreen tributes Beautiful Barbados and Island In The Sun. (RJ)