The meaning of numbers can be different across cultures. The spiritual meaning could be auspicious or ominous.
While some numbers are considered unlucky in some countries, some are also seen as lucky numbers in other jurisdictions.
Here in Ghana, the number 66 will take a leap in terms of significance this year.
This is because the 66th independence anniversary of our dear country is scheduled to take place in Ho in the Volta Region on the theme. “Our Unity, Our Strength, Our Purpose.”
Interestingly, Ho is also home to the 66 Artillery Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
Coincidence or a ploy to advance the popularity of the numbers game? We cannot vouch for any.
What we do know is that, just like any other unit of the GAF, the 66 Artillery Regiment has, as its mission, to protect and defend the territorial sovereignty and integrity of Ghana.
It is the only regiment charged with the responsibility to perform ceremonial gun salute duties of the GAF.
It is only fitting to expect those beautiful fireworks by the Regiment on the eve of the Independence Day parade.
The present 66 Artillery Regiment came into existence on April 16, 1966 under the command of Captain Ekow Jones.
It was referred to as the Medium Mortar Regiment until June 3, 2003, when the unit took delivery of new artillery weapons , including the 107mm RL, the 122mm Howitzer and the 122mm MRLS and was re-designated the 66 Artillery Regiment.
The object of the formation of the then Medium Mortar Regiment on April 16 , 1966 was to increase the fire power potential of the Ghana Army, as hitherto, its only existing fire support had come from the 81mm Mortars.
This situation was created after the disbandment of the Royal West Africa Frontier Force (RWAFF) of British West Africa in 1956, which saw the departure of the Artillery Battery.
This Battery had been an integral part of the Gold Coast Regiment since its inception.
The motto of the unit, “Once a GUNNER, Always a GUNNER”, and their battle cry: “Where there is ARTILLERY, there is GLORY” are testaments to the bravery and outstanding qualities personnel from that side display.
The unit, no doubt, is one of the elite units in the GAF and had and continues to have some of the finest officers and brave men in uniform this country ever produced who have a distinguished record of achievements at both national and international levels.
Officers and men of the 66 Artillery Regiment have left an impressive mark on their peacekeeping operations throughout the world.
One of such officers is Lt General Seth Kofi Obeng, a former Chief of the Defence Staff of the GAF, who, as a Gunner, was one time the Commanding Officer of the then MMR.
The presence of detachments of the unit is always conspicuous at ceremonial parades at the Black Stars Square in Accra and their home base in Ho, with their heavy guns and, lately, the multiple missile launchers.
It is only fitting that Ho, with its scenic beauty, play host to such a memorable occasion to celebrate the struggles in the achievement of independence as well as the democratic path our forebears laid for us.
The officers and men of the 66 Artillery Regiment have historically maintained a kind of umbilical relationship with the inhabitants of Ho in particular and the Volta Region in general.
As the only military establishment in the region with such a huge reputation, the people of the Volta Region have accepted the soldiers as part of them and the soldiers who set foot there hardly think of any other place as home.
This natural bond has been strengthened by social activities such as clean-up campaigns and blood donations embarked upon periodically by the soldiers.
The Supreme Cannons, which is the resident band of the unit, is always available to satisfy the entertainment needs of the community.
The unit has been responsive to emergency situations such as the escalation of violence in volatile land disputes between the people of Tsito/Peki and Alavanyo/Nkonya.
The 66 Artillery Regiment, currently under the command of Lt Colonel Edward Sarpong Appiah is a unit any military establishment will be proud of.
To the officers and men of the 66 Artillery Regiment, Ghana cherish you and we know you will continue to live by your proud motto.
Long live the 66 Artillery Regiment!
Happy 66th independence anniversary Ghana!
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS