Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished and honorable guests and of course the Chelsea Pensioners.
May I first thank the Bahrain British Business Forum and the staff of the Diplomat Radisson Blu hotel for organizing tonight’s Poppy Ball event.
Thank you to our friends and colleagues from the BBA – Eastern Province Saudi Arabia, for also joining us in the kingdom of Bahrain this evening.
Many expected WW1 to be a short-lived affair, with talk of troops being home by Christmas. However, by the end of 1914 it was already clear that war would continue for many more long years with tens of millions of soldiers and civilians killed or seriously wounded.
This remembrance Sunday is particularly poignant as it is 100 years since the guns fell silent from the great war as it was known.
As we are holding this Poppy Ball, I thought a few words on the relevance of the Poppy would be of interest:
It was a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae who was so inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields he wrote a now famous poem called in Flanders Fields.
After the end of the First World War, the Poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance.
Today, as every day, we remember those who volunteered, served, fought, and died, all for the cause of freedom. We have with us today several veterans of these conflicts. We are grateful for your service. We thank you, and we salute you as we salute those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We will remember them.
May I ask you to be upstanding for a toast, to always remember and never forget.