Saturday, April 24, 2010

Remembering those who sacrificed their lives

By His Excellency DAVID DUNN

British High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea


"At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them" part of the ode repeated all over the world on ANZAC Day and other memorial services throughout the year. 

As we gather for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service this year and young and old together witness the first rays of sunlight illuminating the row upon row of the immaculately-maintained Commonwealth War graves, let us reflect upon the huge debt of thanks we owe those lying at peace in the earth of Papua New Guinea.

These young men and women from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, India, Papua New Guinea, the UK and other Commonwealth nations fought and died together in the defence of common values, democracy and friendship.

But they not only died fighting for each other but also fighting for us.

For without their ultimate sacrifice and bravery we would not enjoy the freedoms and lifestyle that we have today.

As I visit the war graves in PNG I cannot help but be struck by the young age of so many of the of men at rest and I am personally filled with an overwhelming  sense of humble gratitude, sadness and feeling of what might have been?

 How many future fathers, husbands, sportsmen, scientists, inventors and even perhaps Prime Ministers lie shoulder-to-shoulder in PNG?

  So many young lives, hopes and dreams cut short before they had really begun.    

So at the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.

We will remember their courage and valour; we will remember their sacrifice and the families and loved ones they left behind; and we will remember the folly and tragedy of war and all those who have lost their lives and been injured in past and current conflicts. 

But above all else, we must remember and never forget that they did it for us.

The remains of 466 British Servicemen lie buried at the Bomana Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, joining those of their peers from throughout the Commonwealth who died fighting to ensure peace, freedom and justice for all.  

After the ANZAC Day Service the British High Commission will be informally laying individual flowers on the 466 unnamed UK graves at Bomana.

 Anyone attending the Dawn Eervice on Sunday is most welcome to join us.   

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