Service held in memory of airmen
GATHERED with the South African Air Force Association (Saafa) at the Saafa memorial at 43 Air School on Sunday, members of the SA Legion, Moths and friends and family honoured and remembered brave individuals who have given their lives for man and country.
Chairman of the Port Alfred Saafa branch Hugh Holmes led the memorial service and opened by welcoming all the guests who had come to pay respects. “We meet here in remembrance of our colleagues who willingly gave their lives in war and peace in the RAF [Royal Air Force], SAAF and Saafa. They have slipped the surly bonds of earth, they have mounted up on the wings of an eagle, put out a hand and touched the face of God, at the going down of the sun, and in the morning. We will remember them,” Holmes said.
Following the Airman’s Prayer recited by Wally Vandermeulen, the two flags were lowered and followed by a moment of silence.
The lament was played on bagpipes by Chris Terry while wreaths honouring the fallen members were laid by members of Saafa, then the Moths, SA Legion and finally members of the public.
Before the commencement of the ceremony, the Dedication Prayer was read by Holmes before guests took to Pied Piper Bistro at 43 Air School for lunch.
An honour roll, a presentation of slides and music compiled by Des Lynch commemorating the most recent fallen veterans was displayed in the restaurant.
Holmes gave thanks to the organisers as well as to God. “Thank you Lord for the privilege of being able to gather to honour our deceased airmen, colleagues and loved ones.”
Gordon Goff concluded the ceremony with the Airman’s Grace written by Father John MacGillvray before guests enjoyed a lunch prepared by Mike Flint.
“Lord of thunderhead and sky, you placed in us the will to fly, you taught our hand speed, skill and grace, to soar beyond our dwelling place. You shared with us the eagle’s view, the right to soar as eagles do, the right to call the clouds our home, and grateful, through your heavens roam. May we assemble here tonight, and all who love the thrill of flight, recall with twofold gratitude, your gift of wings, your gift of food,” Goff read.