23rd July is Remembrance Day in Papua New Guinea. An island nation in the South Pacific.
I am glad that we as a nation can remember our fallen heroes and although sad it is also a day that we should set aside to celebrate their lives.
Of course Papua New Guineans around the country will have mixed thoughts on this day about events that have happened long before they were born. But others like myself have had the privilege and fortune to listen to some of the heroic deeds of relatives.
My grandfather’s job as a printer during the war and a grand uncle who was a coast watcher or a ‘spy’ for the allies, and the story from another grand uncle about the Japanese coming ashore in his village and many more.
Also stories from my late Mom, Aunt and uncles about peace time and the American jazz band and jitter-bugging nurses on our island home, Kwato. Some evidence of WWII – crockery, Bibles and the servicemen and women’s service books which had the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ and ‘Yellow Rose of Texas and many more folk songs and hymns.
Our Milne Bay war heroine’s name unfortunately has been misspelt – how disrespectful! I hope they amend her name. Her correct name is MAIOGARU.
I looked through my photo collection and found a few shots I took of WWII memorials in my province (Milne Bay Province) based in the township Alotau and surrounds.
So to add to the significance of today, I am posting a few photos of the war memorials I’ve visited.
Today we also remember: COURAGE, SACRIFICE, MATESHIP and ENDURANCE…the motto of the Kokoda Trail campaign. Because of these noble characteristics that underpinned the war in this part of PNG, we must now more than ever before as a nation, recognise the Kokoda Trail as part of our heritage to be celebrated as a legacy of the freedom so bravely fought for and so selflessly defended so that we can prosper at our own pace and be masters of our own destiny. “O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, a shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home”. Thank you so much.
The day ended like any other day in Port Moresby, but I this time I guess I really thought seriously about Remembrance Day even if I did not make it to the dawn service at Ela Beach.