In keeping with tradition, Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes O.R.T.T., President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was the first to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph at Memorial Park on Memorial Day 2019.
The 11th of November is known as Memorial Day in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the British Commonwealth. It is the day on which we remember those members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This date was chosen to recognise the cessation of the hostilities of World War I: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
To honour the sacrifice made by the men and women of Trinidad and Tobago who served in World War I, a monument was erected in “Little Savannah” or Memorial Park as it is now known.
Well-known British sculptor L.F. Roslyn R.S.B.S. was commissioned to create this monument which was described in the Port of Spain Gazette on the day of its official opening on the 28th June 1924 as,
“Made of Portland stone and bronze, with a set of four granite steps around the base, constructed on a solid circular concrete foundation about eighteen feet across. Standing squarely on the granite steps is the massive base of the column, let into which are the bronze panels engraved with the names of the fallen, some 168 in number. Rising immediately above this are three emblematic groups of statutory – one in the front and on either side. The front represents Courage – the figure of a soldier armed with a rifle, standing guard over and defending a dying comrade who lies on the ground at his feet. The side groups are the prows of ships, emblematic of the part taken in the war by the Royal Navy and the Mercantile Marine, and on each is seated a female figure, the one on the South in a pensive attitude reading the scroll of Fame, the other on the North, a Red Cross Nurse, bearing a laurel wreath emblematic of the tender care of the sick and fallen, To the rear of the base is a group of trophies massed together and surmounted by arms of the colony and the royal Crown supported by the flags of the Empire with a trident in the rear. Rising clear out f its base is the beautiful tall column of pure white Portland stone, to a height of nearly forty two feet, surmounted by a curved stone frieze, with lions head at the four corners. The whole is surmounted by a winged figure of Victory, cast in bronze, standing on a globe, commemorative of the world wide conflict and bearing in one outstretched hand the wreath of sacrifice and in the other the victor’s palm.”(Port of Spain Gazette: pg. 14.)