THE VETERANS DAY – 14 JAN 2020
“When you go back home, tell them of us,
For their Tomorrow, We gave our Today”
– Inscription on the Unknown Soldier Monument,
at the Colaba War Memorial.
MESSAGE FROM ADM VIJAI SHEKHAWAT (FORMER CNS)
MESSAGE FROM ADM VIJAI SHEKHAWAT (FORMER CNS)
We dedicated our youth in the service of the nation; in turn, we received the regard and affection of our citizen brothers and sisters in full measure, and our service became the best years of our lives. Now as veterans, it remains our duty to safeguard our country and our society in the best ways we can. We can do so by always adhering to the ideal of "Service Before Self" and conducting ourselves with the same dignity, decency, restraint, honour and self-respect, which were our guiding principles during our years in uniform. Jai Hind". Adm Vijai Shekhawat.
A flurry of activities during the fortnight preceding the Veterans Day had steadily transported us to the finale of the Veterans Day, Tue 14 Jan 2020. During the fortnight we had Won the Cricket Match against the C-in-C XI, regaled in the merriment of the Yachting Races between Veterans and the WNC Teams. Veterans Day banners were installed in collaboration with COMCOS (W). Veteran Officers had imparted motivational lectures in Schools. Veterans were interviewed on TV and Radio. Articles by them were published in ‘Fauji India’ magazine. And most importantly history had been created by NFMC in initiating the first ever Veterans Day Parade at Marine Drive on the morning of Sun, 12th Jan 2020, spearheaded by the Architect of the Parade Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC, in which about 600 Veterans of Navy, Army & Airforce had participated including Police commandoes, SCC/ NCC cadets and SCC/ Police Bands. (All these may be recapitulated in links below)
WREATH LAYING- COLABA WAR MEMORIAL- 14 JAN 2020
The festivities and gaiety of the Veterans Day commenced with Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Colaba War Memorial, which was attended by a substantial number of serving and retired personnel, including VAdm IC Rao, VAdm AR Karve (Former C-in-C South), RAdm Arun Auditto, Maj Gen & Mrs BS Malik, Maj Gen & Mrs Joginder Singh and other senior officers of all three services. The War Memorial was exquisitely decorated with colourful Lilies, roses, hyacinth and carnations. Veterans started arriving at the War Memorial commencing 0830 hrs. The Wreaths were laid by Veteran foundations of all three services, Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC, AVM Rajeev Hora, AOC MAO, Lt Gen SK Parashar, GOC(M&G) Area, VAdm Ajit Kumar P, FOCinC (West) and Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, RRM. The Last post was played by the service Buglers as the tri-services Guard carried out the Shok Shastra drill immaculately with perfect synchro and precision during wreath-laying.
The next function was organised at Air Force Officers’ Mess close by, where all the veterans and serving personnel of the three services assembled and interacted with each other over tea and light refreshments. Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, RRM met and discussed issues with veterans of all three services over a cup of tea. AVM Hora was most forthcoming to host the gathering after the Wreath Laying at the War Memorial.
17th ADM SOMAN MEMORIAL LECTURE
Although the Veterans Day Parade was a recent brain-wave conceived and executed by Cdr Vadhera, President NFMC, the conduct of 17th Adm Soman Memorial Lecture for the 14 Jan was planned over 2 months in advance and invitation sent to Mr Nitin A Gokhle, a renowned strategic affairs Analyst for a talk on the burning Topic, ‘The new great game in the Indo-Pacific’ with special reference to IOR (Indian Ocean Region) and SCS (South China Sea). The venue planned was the Asvini Auditorium for the Lecture and the Open Air hall outside for Beer and Lunch for the Veterans and invitees after the Lecture.
All Veterans after the Wreath laying at the War Memorial and the gettogether at Air Force mess arrived at the Asvini Auditorium by 1100 hrs. Mr Nitin Gokhle, a KV Alumnus of 1978 and Wadia graduate of 1983 with 32 yrs experience in mass media, warmly interacted with veterans prior to the arrival of the Chief Guest VAdm RB Pandit, Chief of Staff WNC. The C-in-C was programmed to be the Chief Guest but due to RRM’s visit, it was rescheduled.
Cdr Raj Dutta, Secy NFMC at the outset welcomed all the Veterans and ran through the presentation signifying the importance of organising the Adm Soman Memorial lecture every year. He then introduced the Speaker Mr Nitin Anant Gokhale before welcoming him on stage. For next about 45 mins Mr Gokhle engaged the Audience in elaborating on the Chinese designs in the Indian Ocean, that’s turned into a playground and India’s response and future course of action. The Qs-Ans session was as gripping and fascinating as Mr Gokhale’s remarkable allocution. It was indicative of the interest and impact created bt the Speaker. Cdr Raj Dutta then invited Cdr Vijay Vadhera, President NFMC to deliver the ‘Vote of Thanks’. The president NFMC brought out that success of the Veterans Day functions would not have been feasible without the active support of various units of WNC (COMCOS, Kunjali, Angre, WTC etc ), MDL and Bank of India. He was appreciative of INHS Asvini, that was forthcoming in holding the Adm Soman Lecture every year and offering all support for the same and looking after the Veterans with kindness and care.
In the presentation ceremony, VAdm RB Pandit presented the WNC crest and memento to Mr Nitin Gokhale on behalf of the C-in-C. Cdr Vadhera presented him with a beautiful NFMC memento of the Golden Sailboat. He then presented Mrs Priya Pandit with a book on Naturopathy authored by our Veteran friend Cdr Ashok Shinde. Mr DP Sharma, GM BOI, part sponsor of the Event, then presented a cheque of Rs 50,000/ to Cdr Vadhera President NFMC. Cdr Vadhera felicitated him with NFMC memento of the Golden Sailboat. All the Committee members, who were instrumental in organising the various events during the Veterans fortnight, were summoned on stage for a group photograph.
The ‘meet and greet’ session at the open Air hall over a glass of Beer and Lunch exhibited close bonhomie and congeniality. The bliss of interacting with like-minded Veterans is Priceless and was evident during this buoyant gathering. The Pics below convey much more than words can express.
The efficacious culmination of 17th Adm Soman Memorial Lecture was curtains to a fruitful and rewarding Veterans Day 2020, and yet another bright feather in our NFMC Hat.
Shano Varuna…Jai Hind !!
PS- The Official Photographer Mrs Meena Dutta captured the digital snaps during Wreath Laying and the Adm Soman Memorial Lecture to recall in footprints of time later. Do glance below to recapitulate.
Veterans Day Cricket Link ⇊⇊
Veterans Sailing Cup Race Link ⇊⇊
Veterans Day Parade Link ⇊⇊
Wreath Laying Video :⇊⇊
Soman Memorial Lecture Video :⇊⇊