Sandakan Memorial Day chance to reflect on shared desire for peace

Sandakan Memorial Day chance to reflect on shared desire for peace

SANDAKAN – The Sandakan Memorial Day is an apt opportunity to reflect on the continued and shared desire for peace and reflect that war does nothing but destroy mankind, said Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor today.

He said incidents of war that occurred in the past should serve as a reminder of the hardship and cruelty people faced.

“As we speak, at this very moment, wars are being fought in many parts of the world. Young men and women have been sent to battlefields and we all know the consequences, all too well.

“We offer a special salute to all and pray for their safe return to their loved ones,” he said at the Sandakan Memorial Day ceremony here today.

The text of his speech was delivered by state assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant minister Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Hajiji said the Sandakan Memorial Park here, where the ceremony has been held since 2003, and not far from the former site of a prisoners of war (POW) camp during the Second World War, had served its purpose well for family members of the POWs honour the memories of their loved ones.

He said 77 years ago, approximately 2,400 Australian and British POWs were imprisoned at the camp, with some of them forced to make the treacherous journey by foot – known as the Death March – to Ranau, a distance of over 260km.

Only six escaped alive to recount the brutal horrors and atrocities they suffered, while the rest died in the Ranau and Sandakan camps, he said.

Australian Veterans’ Affairs Minister Matt Keogh, who is also the Australian defence personnel minister, said Sandakan Memorial Day not only commemorated the POWs who perished, but also how the six escaped and survived.

“They survived because of the great assistance that was given to them by the people of Sandakan, the people of Sabah, recognising that important solidarity in their fellow humans in helping the Australians that escaped, and that is a great demonstration of the enduring and strong relationship between our two nations that continues to this day, across generations and oceans,” he said.

source – Bernama

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