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Baron Bliss Day
Wreath Laying Ceremony

BARON BLISS DAY, 2008
Monday March 10th will be celebrated as Baron Bliss Day 2008.
All uniformed members of The Scout Association are invited to actively participate by being present at the Wreath Laying Ceremony on the tomb of Baron Bliss to be held on Monday March 10, 2008.

Please, everyone who is planning on attending the ceremony should be in place by 7:45 a.m. Light refreshments will be served after the ceremony. Please confirm numbers of participants.

BARON BLISS - AND HIS BOUNTY TO BELIZE

On a grassy knoll at the point of Fort George in Belize City there reposes the granite tomb of Baron Bliss, enclosed by a white iron fencing, and surmounting it is a tall lighthouse that guides boats to Belize City Harbor. The tomb is near to one of the historic estuaries of the Belize or Old River and faces the Caribbean Sea with its almost continuous trade winds.

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Around the tomb are the inscriptions:
In memory of Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss, J.P., Marlow in the County of Buckingham, England … Born 19th February, 1869 … Died 9th March, 1926 on board his yacht Sea King R.Y.S. in Belize Harbor.

Every year, wreaths are placed on the tomb by members of the Baron Bliss Trust and others of the citizenry on the 9th March, in memory of this benefactor. It is a public and bank holiday, and a harbor regatta is held in remembrance of a man who loved the sea, who left Belize over a million dollars for its use, and from the interest of which, over a million dollars has been spent by the Baron Bliss Trust for the good of Belize during the past decades.

Baron Bliss, as he is affectionately called, never set foot on Belizean soil; but during his short stay in Belizean waters and his few contacts with the Belizean people, he saw and felt enough of the attitudes of the Belizean people to leave them the residue of his estate, a boon that could have gone in another direction.

Baron Bliss has been termed as Belize’s biggest benefactor. He has been termed as a great humanist, a man of vision, a remarkable nobleman: and a Judge Rowlatt of the King’s Bench of the High Court of Justice, on the 11th March, 1929 described him as, a very remarkable and unfortunate man, the latter part of whose life was spent under sad and unusual circumstances. Yet Baron Bliss stated in his will, I have enjoyed my life, never experiencing an unhappy day. I hope to die happy.

Belize has received patronage from fairly original sources and Baron Bliss is the best-loved. The Baron was a wealthy Englishman who inherited his title from Portugal. In grateful commemoration of his philanthropy he is remembered by one and all on 9 March, also a public holiday.

Arriving in Belize in 1926, the baron was persuaded of its bounteous merits and stayed there, for only a few months, until he died. In the weeks before his death he set up a trust for his wife with the clause that, after her death, all the money should go to Belize itself. He bequeathed about £100,000, a small fortune in today's money.

Throughout the country there are celebrations including a harbour regatta outside the lighthouse in Belize City. The lighthouse forms the baron's curious tomb, erected in memory of his love of the sea. There are also cycle and horse races.

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Baron Bliss day is also Flag Day. Belize's flag has an elaborate design of a white central disk with 50 olive leaves running along its inner periphery, which represent the year 1950, when British Honduras (Belize's former name) began its quest for independence from the UK. When Belize achieved independence in 1981, two red stripes were added to the flag.