We shall remember them!

By Deidre Fanene ,

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HONOURING ANZACS: Members of the community who turned up to commemorate ANZAC Day on Monday morning.

HONOURING ANZACS: Members of the community who turned up to commemorate ANZAC Day on Monday morning.

New Zealand, Australia and Samoa paused to reflect and honour the sacrifice made by ANZAC soldiers on Monday. 

In Apia, a dawn parade on Beach Road was well attended where New Zealand’s High Commissioner, Jackie Frizelle, paid tribute to the contribution by Pacific island soldiers – including Samoans.

REMEMBERING THE FALLEN: Members of the local community lay wreaths in front of the Town Clock to commemorate ANZAC Day in Samoa.

REMEMBERING THE FALLEN: Members of the local community lay wreaths in front of the Town Clock to commemorate ANZAC Day in Samoa.

“Most Pacific men in the New Zealand army served in the Pioneer Battalion, whose task was to build and maintain the trenches, roads and telegraph lines needed to keep the army functioning,” she said during a breakfast at the RSA to mark ANZAC Day. “While theoretically operating behind the front line, the Pioneers routinely worked under artillery fire, and suffered 54 casualties at the Somme.

“Another challenge for the Pacific troops was the climate. As the battle dragged on through the autumn and temperatures dropped towards freezing, disease began to take its toll. Many soldiers found themselves in military hospitals in France and England, and the following year most were transferred to the warmer climate of the Middle East.”

REMEMBERING THE FALLEN: Members of the local community lay wreaths in front of the Town Clock to commemorate ANZAC Day in Samoa.
REMEMBERING THE FALLEN: Members of the local community lay wreaths in front of the Town Clock to commemorate ANZAC Day in Samoa.

High Commissioner Frizelle paid tribute to their courage.

“2016 is also the anniversary of two other battles where Australia and New Zealand fought side by side; the Battle of Crete 75 years ago, and the Battle of Long Tan 50 years ago,” she said.

“While recognising the courage and sacrifice of soldiers on this day, it is also appropriate to reflect on the failures of diplomacy and statecraft that led to such a long and bloody war. 

“Since the First World War, New Zealand and Australia have strongly supported peaceful solutions to international disagreements. Both were strong advocates of the League of Nations after the First World War, and the United Nations after the Second World War. New Zealand and Australia have contributed to peacekeeping forces in the Pacific and elsewhere, and regularly use our defence forces for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.

“Since becoming an independent state in 1952, Samoa has also been a strong advocate for international peace and cooperation, and has sent police officers to assist in U.N operations.

“New Zealand is a current member of the United Nations Security Council, and is using this role to bring more attention to the security challenges of small island developing countries.  Prime Minister Tuilaepa gave a powerful opening speech at the U.N debate on this issue last year. 

“While the meaning of Anzac Day may have evolved over time, one thing has remained constant – our respect for what we call “the Anzac spirit” – the qualities of courage, compassion and comradeship. 

“As we stand here today, one hundred years after our forebears first gathered on the first Anzac Day, we keep the memory of our fallen men and women alive, and look to the future with gratitude and hope.” Here are some more photos from the parade.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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