Hundreds gathered Saturday (20 October) to honour the military community at the Cayman Islands Veterans Association 7th Annual Veterans Gala held at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.
Keynote speaker Lt. Col. Henry Bodden, a Caymanian serving at the Pentagon with the United States Marine Corps, emphasized the importance of the event.
“I grew up here in Cayman, I left when I was 18 to join the Marine Corps. The message I’d like to get across is we have to honor, and respect, and show appreciation for the veterans, the sacrifices they make, and the things that they’ve done that most people don’t know about.”
Premier Alden McLaughlin said Cayman’s contributions like Bodden’s are an example of Cayman’s impact on international defense.
“Even a little place like Cayman, where many would say our contribution is small because our population is small. We have a disproportionate number of men, and to a lesser extent women, who have contributed to keeping our world safe, and I think it’s important on an occasion like this as we approach Memorial Day, Remembrance Day, that we do recognize their tremendous sacrifices and contributions.”
Acting Governor Hon. Franz Manderson said the event was an opportunity to pay to tribute to all military, both in attendance, and in our memories.
“Some have paid the ultimate price to allow us to be here this evening, but also, tonight we celebrate with the veterans that are here, to show them that we care, show them our respect, and to show them we are grateful for all that they have done.”
With many Cayman Islands Cadet Corps in attendance, Staff Sergeant Azaria Jackson said it was a memorable experience for young military in Cayman.
“Everyone has a different story to tell on what they learned through the years and what they have overcome” said Jackson. “So many people come from different parts of the world just to be here. I want to show my support for them, and my appreciation for what they have done to make the world a better place and that what they did will never be forgotten.”