Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka
joined members of the disciplined forces and diplomatic corps at Suva’s Military Cemetery this morning for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service.
ANZAC Day is commemorated annually to honor the lives of those gallant Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price, fighting for their countries in the battle of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
Today marks 108 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 the Australian and New Zealand troops.
In his address, Australian High Commission’s charge d’affaires Mr Stuart Watts said that ANZAC Day is the most sacred of days for Australians and New Zealanders, “a day we honor all those who returned and those who did not”.
“We pay tribute to those who have served and those who are still serving to protect our way of life. Today, here in Suva, we also pay tribute to our Fijian defense partners, with whom we have special bonds and proud to call our vuvale,” he said.
“We will continue to grow our defense and security cooperation. Australia is deeply committed to working in partnership with our Pacific family to achieve our shared vision for a peaceful, prosperous and resilient region.”
New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, Her Excellency Ms Charlotte Darlow shared similar sentiments, adding that Australians and Kiwis around the world attend this event on this day to recognise those dedicated personnel who have served and continue to serve in “our armed forces”.
“While the unique bond of two nations sharing the same day of remembrance has created a spirit of unity and shared sacrifice, we also remember the nations with whom we share experience in war, most of whom are represented here today,” she said.
“We will continue to stand together in our commitment to the importance of international roles and our shared condemnation of Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine. We will always recall the supreme sacrifice our fallen heroes made and reaffirm our commitment to always remember them. Lest we forget.”
Australians and New Zealanders residing here in Fiji were also part of the special event.
Also in attendance at the memorial service were Fiji’s Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration Hon. Pio Tikoduadua, the RFMF Deputy Commander and Fiji Navy Commander, Mr Humphrey Tawake, Acting Police Commissioner, Mr Juki Fong Chew, President of the Returned Soldiers and Ex- Servicemen, Ratu Peni Volavola, and other invited dignitaries.