By kind permission of the military authorities, and a formal invitation from Lieutenant-Colonel Dermot Hanifin, the Club’s President laid a wreath at the National Memorial, on Saturday, 22 July. The Military Guard was mounted by the 2 Artillery Regiment during the period 1200hrs to 1300hrs. Major-General Kevin Cotter, Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) and Brigadier-General Howard Berney, GOC 2 Brigade were present. The Master of Ceremonies was Lieutenant Sarah O’Donnell, 2 Artillery Regiment and Lieutenant Alex Quigley was OIC of the Military Guard drawn from the 2 Artillery Regiment.
The event was well attended by the Club’s membership and relatives of those Gunners who died in service at home and on peacekeeping duties. Attendance included Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Wickham (Retd) who laid a wreath on behalf of his father Commandant Thomas Wickham RIP who was killed in action on 07 June 1967 on the Golan Heights – see Newsletter 2/2017. The 2 Field Artillery Regiment Association, IUNVA and ONET were also in attendance.
The National Memorial was unveiled by President Mary McAleese in November 2008 and is the National Memorial to members of the Defence Forces, Óglaigh na hÉireann, who died in the service of the State. It is a place of contemplation and remembrance, where families, relatives and members of the public can reflect on the sacrifice our fallen comrades have made for Ireland.
The pyramid shape of the memorial, which was designed by Brian King, captures references to burial and is a standing testament to the dead. It also reflects the shape of a military tent. Within the pyramid, four bronze figures, representing all elements of the Defence Forces, stand guard over the eternal flame that emanates from the badge of the Defence Forces. The flame burns in perpetual memory of those members of the Defence Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice.