On the 1st of October 2023, the Defence Forces held the 2023 Veterans Day Parade in McKee Barracks, Dublin.
Hundreds of veterans from various organisations dressed smartly in their uniforms took to the parade ground. The parade was attended by Minister of State Mr. Jack Chambers T.D. accompanied by Chief of Staff Lt General Seán Clancy, Secretary General Dept of Defence, Ms Jacqui Mc Crum, GOC 2 Bde Brig General Anthony Cudmore along with other members of the General Staff and invited guests. Veterans representative bodies included the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel (ONE), the Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA), the Association of Retired Commissioned Officers (ARCO), the 5th Infantry Battalion Association, the 2nd Infantry Battalion Association and others.
Veterans had the opportunity to meet and greet old comrades from service at home and overseas, and to make new acquaintances along with family and friends. The Defence Forces had a tri-service group currently serving that represented the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service on parade. Those serving had the opportunity to talk to veterans about their service memories.
Included in the ceremonies was the Transfer of Presidency of ONE, where Board Chairperson Colm Campbell presented the incoming President, Michael Kinihan with the Chain of Office and presented the outgoing President, Diarmuid Higgins, with a commemorative medal, and thanked him for his excellent representation of ONE over his two-year presidency.
The ceremonial parade was accompanied by fantastic music provided by the Defence Forces School of Music (DFSM), and a poignant pipers lament.
Wreaths were laid to commemorate fallen Defence Forces members both serving and retired by Minister Chambers, National President of ONE Michael Kinihan, on his first official engagement, President of IUNVA Kieran Brennan, and President of ARCO Séamus Ó Giolláin. The flag was raised to full mast with a ceremonial drill provided by members of the 27 Infantry Battalion and Military Police personnel.
ONE’s new National President Michael Kinihan performed his second official task by presenting a number of female members of ONE and their male support staff with a ONE commemorative coin for fundraising work completed that weekend raising over €3,000 for ONE’s charitable objectives.
It was a fantastic day that was complimented by the good weather. Thank you to all involved in putting on this very special day in the Veterans Community calendar.
ONE’s Board Chairperson Colm Campbell summed up the day by saying: “Veterans are very honoured to have served Ireland and while our country has not been at war since the end of the Civil War in May 1923, Irish Peacekeepers have been deployed in wars or their immediate aftermath without interruption since 1958. This was achieved by one of the smallest military forces in Europe while all elements of the Defence Forces were also, and still are, engaged in extensive security operations in land, sea and air in Ireland. This could not have been accomplished without the unified effort of all elements of the Defence Forces and the sacrifice of the fallen and their families. Veterans’ Day honours this record of outstanding service and honours both living and deceased Defence Forces’ Veterans. ONE warmly welcomes this ceremony and our challenge is to ensure that we honour veterans every day of the year and fulfil our commitment to supporting them in every way that we possibly can to ensure that No Irish Veteran Is Left Behind.”
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