LEADERS of many Armistice Day observant nations attending the APEC 2018 leaders summit will not miss the opportunity to pay their respects to their fallen heroes from the last two World Wars on November 11.
This is thanks to the PNG Returned and Services League national congress which has resolved to recognise Armistice Day, November 11 as one of its key military calendar events for commemoration by its members throughout Papua New Guinea annually after July 23 Remembrance Day and April 25 Anzac Day.
On the day the PNGRSL will hold formal military commemorative ceremonies which they wish for the PNG APEC Minister and organising committee to factor into the official events program.
This is to provide the opportunity for observant nations like Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and others to allow their leaders present in PNG for the APEC Leaders’ Summit to commemorate and pay their respects to their fallen heroes.
The PNGRSL believes that the opportunity must be provided for them at all cost because they will be absent from their own countries where they would have unfailingly attended Armistice Day celebrations.
A resolution at the Congress’s September 15, 2017, foundation meeting determined the date to be observed due to its significance to PNG’s own war history and the connection between the veterans of World War I that also served in PNG in the following one.
The PNGRSL believes it will be in the national interest during APEC that Armistice Day if not already programmed, be factored into the APEC activities for dignitaries as an important occasion reflecting PNG’s global standing and proud military history.
It is emphatic that the occasion through a bipartisan support of Government by the PNGRSL and the PNG Defence Force will do much to showcase the modern PNG Defence Force to the world and in doing so by the spirit of remembrance reaffirm the country’s national ideals and values giving APEC in PNG its special character.
The PNGRSL has recommended that:
PNG’s foundation military units NGVR, PIB and NGIB were formed within the Australian Army and commanded by Australian field officers who had previously served with the Australian Imperial Forces in the Western Front in WWI and were veterans from that theatre of war.
William Thornton Watson, first commanding officer PIB is one who fought in Gallipoli as a gunner through to France and like many soldiers was recalled of their service in WWII.
The PNGRSL feels this global event is of military significance to PNG as a member of the free world in defining its place free of any coercion to recognise its role in upholding peace and goodwill amongst nations who are prepared to stand alongside one another; without fear of paying the ultimate price.