Rememberance Day: lest we forget - honouring the war veterans

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14 November 2010  Every year, Tonga celebrates Remembrance Day, a special day set aside to remember the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War.

This year's Memorial Day took place on Sunday 14 November, where Her Royal Highness Princess Salote Mafile'o Pilolevu Tuita, the Princess Regent honours the Day by laying of the first wreath. Also present at the occasion were Lord Tuita; Prime Minister, Dr the Honourable Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele; Deputy Prime Minister Dr. The Honourable Viliami Ta'u Tangi; Speaker of Parliament, Lord Tu'ilakepa; Nobles of the realm and foreign dignitaries which included Their Excellencies Mr. Yasuo Takase (Japan's Ambassador to Tonga); Mr. Jonathan Austin (New Zealand High Commissioner) and Dr. Bruce Hunt (Australian High Commissioner).

This national ceremony is coordinated by the Tonga Defence Services to take place at the Cenotaph in Pangai Si'i, Nuku'alofa, on such occasions where His Majesty King George Tupou V or a member of the Royal Family lays the first wreath at the Cenotaph.

In presence of families and relatives of army veterans, wreaths were laid by the Prime Minster, members of the overseas diplomatic missions and resident consulates as well as representatives from the Tonga Scouts who also marked its hundredth year of establishment in Tonga.

Following the solemn occasion was the ‘The Last Post', which signifies the end of the day and the final farewell in military life, conducted by the Tonga Defence Services' Royal Corps of Musicians, traditionally played to introduce the two minutes silence of respect while reflecting on the bravery and sacrifice given by the men and women who fought in the First World War. The ceremony ends with a prayer service led by Free Wesleyan President, Rev. Dr. ‘Ahio.

Remembrance Sunday, also known as Veterans Day, Armistice or Poppy Day, is usually held on the second Sunday in November, usually the Sunday nearest to 11 November. The significance being that to recall the official end of World War I on that date in 1918, as the major hostilities of World War I were formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918 .

Another war Memorial Day being celebrated in Tonga is ANZAC Day which remembers Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Island army corps servicemen who lost their lives in the Second World War.  This marks April 25 of every year a public holiday in Tonga.

ENDS

Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2010.

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 March 2013 13:54 )  

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