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Papua New Guinea

The significance, connection and relevance of Armistice Day in PNG

It is completely crucial and totally significant for World Armistice Day to be observed in PNG on the eve of APEC 2018.
This is because November 11, falls during the APEC Leaders Summit and observant nations like Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and others will have their leaders here in Port Moresby on that day.
Their participation has not been forgotten regarding Armistice Day observance and this is thanks especially to the PNG Returned Services League which has pointed out this totally crucial and highly respected international calendar event.
The PNGRSL in PNG has undergone total revamping and has held several national congresses to re-mould, rehabilitate and set in programs to re-establish its proud history in the country, region and internationally.
And this is to promote the significant and proud history of PNG’s own war and military veterans which have been badly forgotten over the years.
Part of this monumental history includes the establishment of the foundational New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NGVR), Papua Infantry Battalion (PIB) and New Guinea Infantry Battalion (NGIB).
They were formed within the Australian Army and commanded by Australian field officers who previously served with the Australia Imperial Forces in the Western Front in World War One.
The first Commanding Officer of the PIB, William Thornton Watson, fought in Gallipoli as a gunner through to France was recalled during World War II.
Many countries all over the world will be holding centennial commemorative services (100 yrs) this year (1918-2018) where many have made it a national holiday and Commonwealth countries pay particular tribute of the day to remember roughly 20 million people who died in the war and the those living left behind generally understood to be wives, children and families but deeply affected by the conflict.
In the modern era we recognise as restitution for the veterans and retirees bearing the scars of post-traumatic stress disorder.
With APEC leaders coming to PNG it will be fitting and proper that they are given the opportunity to observe the day here because they will be absent from the ceremony they would have attended back in their own countries.
In this context PNG must play its cards right and fully support the PNGRSL to cater for this important event.
Therefore the APEC Minister and his organising committee must urgently factor into the APEC program this very important and significant event as part of the official programs.
Let us surprise our visitors and given them the assurance that we have not forgotten such an event of major importance which they can observe while they are in the country.
This is also an important event which PNG’s global standing must be given the significance it deserves.

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