FSM and Australia commemorate ANZAC Day at Kangaroo Court

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

April 25, 2018

IMG 7470Pohnpei—In this morning’s pre-dawn hours dozens of people gathered together at the Kangaroo Court, the Royal Australian Navy housing complex, to commemorate ANZAC Day.

The 25th of April, ANZAC Day, is one of Australia's and New Zealand’s most important national commemorative events marking the anniversary of the first major military action involving Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. Around the world and in every city and town in Australia and New Zealand, commemoration services are held at dawn, the time of the original landing by the ANZAC’s on the beaches of Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915. It is a day when all Australians and New Zealanders reflect on the sacrifices of so many.

Lt. Commander Lauren Milburn of the Royal Australian Navy gave the welcome and call to commemoration.  It was the Lt. Commander’s first Anzac day commemoration in Pohnpei which proceeds universally along a prescribed course no matter where it is commemorated, though the subtleties do vary.

The celebrants were asked to join in the singing of the hymn, “Abide With Me”.

Chief Petty Officer Byron Evans read the poem, “Waiting” written by poet Lee O’Neill.

Australian Embassy’s Charge’ d’Affaires Eliza Woolcock provided the official address.  Australia’s Charge d’Affaires, Eliza Woolcock spoke next. “Australians and New Zealanders had fought in battle before April 1915 but as part of another nation’s forces. We commemorate this as ANZAC Day because it is the anniversary of the first time they fought under the flags of their own countries,” she said.

“Today the first rays of sunlight on the dawn of the 25th of April 2018 in Pohnpei will soon shine for the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who will be at other dawn services this morning around the world.

This morning Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta-Fierravanti-Wells will also be speaking at the ANZAC Day ceremony in Palau, along with Australia’s Ambassador to the FSM, Palau and Marshall Islands, HE George Fraser. The Ambassador passes on his regrets that he is not able to join us here in Pohnpei this morning…IMG 7474

“For Micronesians, today also acknowledges the loss of life and suffering here in Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap during World War II, along with former and current Micronesian Service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom and maintain peace in other parts of the world…

“This is a day of remembrance for the fallen, and of the returned. The words ‘we will remember them’, and ‘lest we forget’, are always part of these services…While all wars are tragedies, we must not diminish the sacrifices of those who gave everything, who put their own lives at risk to protect others from the atrocity of further war. Harry Emerson Fosdick says, ‘the tragedy of war is that it uses man's best, to do man's worst.’

“We do not glorify war, but we are grateful for the willingness of service men and women to put their lives at risk for the good of others; to work together to protect values, and people, not only of their time, but also for future generations unknown to them,” she said.

After her speech, representatives of several nations and organizations participated in the laying of wreaths at the ANZAC shrine.

Mrs. Lara Evans read the traditional “Ode of Remembrance”, which says, “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old, ages shall not weary them nor the years condemn.  At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.”

The Last Post bugle call was sounded followed by a minute of silence in remembrance.

Reveille was sounded while flag bearers, Maisy and Amos Milburn and Emily and Jameson Evans helped their parents to raise the Australian and New Zealand flags.

The Youth 4 Change choir sang the Australian and New Zealand National Anthems.

After the solemn ceremony, a traditional, hearty “Gun Fire Breakfast” was served on the compound.

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