Lest we for­get – A day to re­mem­ber all those ex-ser­vice­men and women who died for the cause of free­dom and peace

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

Yes­ter­day was Ar­mistice Day - when we com­mem­o­rated the sign­ing of the ar­mistice be­tween the Al­lies and Ger­many at 11am on Novem­ber 11, 1918. The Ar­mistice es­sen­tially ended four years of fight­ing in the World War I. There is a two-minute si­lence held to mark the oc­ca­sion and re­mem­ber those killed in the two World Wars and oth­ers who died or in­jured in con­flicts since 1945. Yes­ter­day there was a dawn ser­vice presided by the Min­is­ter for Im­mi­gra­tion, Na­tional Se­cu­rity and De­fence, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, at the Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery, Reser­voir Rd, Suva. This was fol­lowed by the Fiji Re­mem­brance Day Me­mo­rial at the Na­tional War Me­mo­rial Ground, Bat­tery Road, Nas­ese, in Suva. It was presided by the Pres­i­dent, Ma­jor-Gen­eral (Ret’d) Jioji Kon­rote. In Labasa and other cen­tres sim­i­lar events were held. Th­ese re­mem­brance events are held dur­ing the pub­lic ap­peal for the red poppy. Peo­ple are asked to buy the red poppy at $1 each and dis­play it on their chest. The money raised goes to­wards the exser­vice­men’s and women’s fund to help those is need. Mem­bers of the pub­lic wear the pa­per poppy on their chest as a sym­bol of Re­mem­brance, to re­mem­ber the fallen ser­vice men and women killed in con­flict. In Fiji we have a proud his­tory of men and women who have lost their lives on for­eign soil to en­sure the world en­joys free­dom and peace. They and many oth­ers like them from other coun­tries are the rea­son we hold th­ese re­mem­brance ser­vices. For with­out them, we will not be en­joy­ing peace and sta­bil­ity to­day. It is very easy to for­get the huge sac­ri­fices of our fallen he­roes in the busy sched­ules of the mod­ern world. The most fa­mous of our lo­cal he­roes was the late Cor­po­ral Se­fanaia Sukanaivalu, 3rd Bat­tal­ion, Fiji In­fantry Reg­i­ment who was awarded a post­hu­mous Vic­to­ria Cross for his brav­ery in the Bougainville cam­paign, Solomon Is­lands, dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. His was the first VC won in the Sec­ond World War by a non-Euro­pean sol­dier from the Bri­tish colonies. His tale of sac­ri­fice con­tin­ues to in­spire our men and women to join the Fi­jian mil­i­tary ser­vice. To­day that ser­vice has ex­panded to peace­keep­ing in South­ern Le­banon, where our deaths have reached dou­ble fig­ures, Si­nai, Golan Heights in Syria, south Su­dan and other the­atres. Our com­mit­ment to ful­fil our in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions to United Na­tions peace ef­forts has been widely recog­nised and ap­plauded. De­spite our size, we have stood tall and won the ad­mi­ra­tion of the UN and its mem­ber coun­tries. The po­lit­i­cal up­heaval from 1987 to 2000 was the only blem­ish in an other­wise ex­cel­lent record. It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that the events of that tu­mul­tuous pe­riod are never to be re­peated. That as we go to keep the peace in other coun­tries, it is ab­so­lutely im­por­tant that we pro­tect the peace, sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity at home be­cause so much is stake.

It is in all our col­lec­tive in­ter­ests to en­sure that we pro­tect our peace and sta­bil­ity. That’s what our fallen he­roes died for. And we do not want their sac­ri­fices to be in vain.

In Fiji we have a proud his­tory of men and women who have lost their lives on for­eign soil to en­sure the world en­joys free­dom and peace.

The open­ing game against the Bar­bar­ians is very im­por­tant for us to get the tour off to a pos­i­tive start. John McKee

Voda­fone Fly­ing Fi­jians coach

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji

© PressReader. All rights reserved.