13 November 2010.
November 11, is celebrated by countries all over the world as it is marked in Tonga on a Sunday, closest to November 11,hence, Remembrance Sunday', and it is being dedicated to those who serve, fought and lost their lives in the First World War.
It is a day to remember the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces and civilians in times of war.
This year's Memorial Day took place on Sunday 13 November, where His Majesty King George Tupou V honors the Day by laying of the first wreath.
The order of procession for the Memorial Service; includied a Guard of Honour and the laying of Wreaths at the Cenotaph at Pangai si'i Ground in Nuku'alofa.
Also present at the occasion and paying their respects were the Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Samiu Vaipulu, Nobles of the realm, distinguished members of Parliament and His Majesty's Cabinet Ministers.
Foreign dignitaries were represented at the Memorial by Mr. Yasuo Takase (Japan), Mr. Wang Donghua (People's Republic of China), Their Excellencies Mr. Thomas Roth (Australia), the Acting New Zealand High Commissioner, Mr. Dominic Walton-France and the British Charge d'Affairs to Tonga Mr. Tim Smart and the Tonga's honorary consuls for the Republic of Germany; Mr. Carl Sanft, Netherlands; Mr. Laki Niu, France; Mrs. Tupou Pasikala Fiu, Sweden; Ms. 'Aloma Johansson and the Republic of Korea; Mr. Tevita Puloka have also laid a wreath in memoriam of those who fought in those countries.
This Day was especially dedicated to all Tongan servicemen, current and retired veterans.
In presence of families and relatives of army veterans, wreaths were also laid by the Commander of the Tonga Services, Brigadier General Tau'aika ‘Uta'atu and lfamily members of the World War I veterans including the Hon. Lord Vaea, Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries who laid a wreath in honor of the late Baron Vaea, a former Prime Minister and World War I veteran.
The Girl Guides and Queen Salote College representative are also participated in the occasion together with the Queen Salote College students.
At the conclusion of 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 Secretary, Rev. Tevita Havea and assisted by other churches representative from Roman Catholic Church, Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Seven Day Adventist and Church of Tonga.
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.
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Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011.