Remembering the contribution that members of the defence forces from Wexford have made at home and abroad over the years was to the fore of the agenda at the annual wreath laying at the memorial to ex-service personnel in The Faythe.
Appropriately, the sun through the iconic lockout gates and onto the memorial stone as members of the John Barry Branch of the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel (ONE) gathered with town manager Angie Laffan, councillors, Labour Party leader Brenda Howlin and guest of honour, Minister of State with special responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD.
Minister Kehoe thanked John Fowler for putting the event together and inviting him to be present and lay a wreath on behalf of the government. Other wreaths were laid by Deputy Mayor George Lawlor and Parades Officer of the ONE Larry Shannon.
Minister Kehoe said that the day not only provided a great opportunity to honour servicemen who had gone before, but it was also a great opportunity for ONE members and their families to get together. 'As Minister with responsibility for Defence, I am acutely conscious of the role that you, the retired members of the Defence Forces, have played in serving the State, both at home and overseas,' he said. 'The Defence Forces of today have been very much shaped by the experiences and lessons of the past and, in this context, owes a debt of gratitude to you, the veterans of the Defence Forces.'
He noted how Ireland's Defence Forces are admired around the world, particularly for their role as UN Peacekeepers.
'Ireland's unbroken and proud history of participation in UN missions is one of the things that helps makes us stand out as a nation,' he said. 'It strengthens our values; it deepens our international relations; it shows that one small country can make a big difference on the global stage.'
Speaking of those who had lost their lives in the line of duty, Minister Kehoe said: 'It's important that we never forget them. For they made the ultimate sacrifice while performing the world's most important work: The work of peace.
'I would like to compliment everyone connected with the organisation of this morning's ceremony for your ongoing hard work and commitment to ONE,' the Minister concluded. 'Your organisation continues to make a difference to the lives of members and spouses of deceased members who have had cause to avail of its services.'