The National, Tuesday July 24th, 2012
By PISAI GUMAR
THE annual Remembrance Day dawn service to pay homage to soldiers that sacrificed their lives for the country was not held in Madang yesterday, drawing accusations of neglect by the provincial events council.
After waiting in vain from 2am to 6pm, the disheartened children and parents started a clean – up around the lighthouse then returned home.
Mandos Pileng, a protocol officer for provincial events council could not be reached for answers as to why the service was not held.
Many relatives of the fallen turned up wearing medals of their fathers and grandfathers for the service at the landmark Kalibobo Lighthouse at Coast Watchers Park.
Students from Divine Word University, Madang Teachers, Maritime and Madang technical colleges, secondary and primary school students and parents flocked in numbers to the park to witness the day, some arriving as late as 8am.
Isabella Merire, 12, a grade five student at Holy Spirit primary school accompanied her father, Thom Merire, to pay homage to her grandfather, Sgt Major Merire Benau, from Siu in Morobe.
Isabella wore her grandfather’s medals including the British Empire Military (BEM) Pacific Star, the Australian Service medal, Coronation Star, Distinguished Police Medal and Queen’s Medal.
A disappointed Isabella Merire said: “In history lessons in classes, such events are crucial for us to participate and understand their significance.”
Benau was among the Coast Guards that patrolled between Wewak in East Sepik to Malala and Raicoast in Madang and Sialum to Finschhafen in Morobe. He joined the police force after the war.
Thom Merire was saddened by the ineffectiveness of the provincial events council to celebrate such significant days.
“It’s a sad day for Madang to show nothing in respect to fallen heroes of the country.
“Madang should be proud to have the landmark icon for the coast watchers – the lighthouse, and the events council has no excuse to deny that” Merire said.