Prime Minister Hon. Sitiveni Rabuka this morning attended the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Military Cemetery in Suva.
He was joined by the Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Hon. Pio Tikoduadua, and members of the disciplined forces, diplomatic corps and distinguished guests.
ANZAC Day is commemorated annually to honor the lives of those Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price, fighting for freedom in the battle of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
Today marks 109 years since the Gallipoli landings in 1915 in Turkey which claimed the lives of 8709 Australians and 2779 New Zealanders.
This was the first major military action fought together by Australian and New Zealand troops.
In his address, Australian High Commissioner to Fiji His Excellency Mr Ewen McDonald said that ANZAC Day is one of the most important days in Australia and New Zealand.
“On ANZAC Day, as we honour the service and sacrifices of the men and women of our armed forces, we also honour Able Seaman Puamau and Able Seaman Savenaca, and the enduring role that Australia, Fiji and New Zealand have played throughout history in protecting the maritime security of the Pacific.”
“Today, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all current and former service personnel as well as their families and friends for the incredible sacrifices they make everyday to keep us safe, and our region secure. On this day of remembrance, we honour all those who served in the First World War, the Second World War and all other wars.
“We also pay tribute to our Fijian defense partners, with whom we have special bonds and are proud to call our Vuvale.
“We are eternally grateful, Lest We Forget.”
Able Seaman Nikotimo (Timo) Puamau, from the Lau Islands, and Able Seaman Savenaca Naulumatua, from the Yasawa Islands, were two Fijian sailors who served onboard HMNZS Leander, a New Zealand Leander Class Light Cruiser, during the Battle of Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands during World War II.
These two sailors were onboard when the ship was torpedoed on 13 July 1943. They were among the 26 members who were either killed or went missing in action.
As part of the memorial service, the Prime Minister and other dignitaries laid wreaths to honour the fallen heroes, followed by the last post and a minute of silence.
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