Veteran lays wreaths for fallen comrades

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday July 24th, 2013

 RETIRED Sergeant Ben Moide laid a wreath for his fallen comrades as the nation paused to remember our war heroes who defended it in World War II.

Moide was with the Papuan Infantry Battalion who fought Japanese soldiers at Awala village in the first encounter with the enemy.

He is one of the few surviving World War II veterans who attended the celebrations at Ela Beach. 

Also present was  Nepe Kumanyal who was a carrier for the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels during World War II. Both veterans laid wreaths to honour their fallen comrades.

Chief guest Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio paid special tribute to Moide’s Papuan Infantry Battalion who were the first Papua New Guineans to shoot back during the Japanese attack.

“23rd July is a unique day in PNG history where the 35 men of the Papuan Infantry Battalion at Awala village fired the first shots ever in defence of Papua New Guinea,” he said.

“And now we remember their sacrifice and their allies. The challenges to perform their duty to serve this nation was respected by the allied forces and the villagers.

“Isn’t it wonderful to remember such virtues? Family men going back to their families with pride fulfilling God’s calling.”

Sir Michael said it was important, especially for future generations to remember the fallen heroes.

“Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels are constant reminders for our children and I encourage all parents not to stay away because what we have today is because of many heroes who went to war and died for us. Our children must learn from the war

“It is easy to forget them. Children today are not that interested in PNG history. Keep our war heroes in mind. They have the right to be remembered. We should think strongly of conserving our war stories for the next generation.”

He also paid tribute to Allied forces who defended Papua New Guinea from the insurgency that took place in Rabaul, East New Britain and Kokoda, Northern Province in 1942.

Sir Michael was chief guest at the parade and memorial service at the Remembrance Park, Ela Beach in Port Moresby.

Men and women from the army, police, correctional services, ex-servicemen and St John Ambulance took part in the parade.