KUCHING: The Australia New Zealand Army Corporation (Anzac) commemorates the 70th anniversary of World War II at Batu Lintang Teachers Training Institute yesterday.
The visitation of Anzac delegates and exchange students from Australia and New Zealand is an annual event of the Forgotten Hero Tour in Sabah and Sarawak.
Over 30 exchange students, including 10 from SMK St Joseph and SMK St Thomas, will tour with Anzac to the memorials in Labuan, Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan to honour the war heroes who sacrificed their lives during World War II in Malaysia.
“Heroes cannot be made heroes unless we acknowledge them. We give them their rightful place, we maintain the memories and the memorials long into the future to remind us that there was an enormous sacrifice, death, trauma and the lost of lives of those liberating forces and the local heroes that assisted,” said Borneo Exhibition Group president Ryan Rowland during his speech.
The Batu Lintang Teacher Training Institute memorial is the first stop of their tour. It is where the Kuching Allied prisoners of wars, civilian internees and some Sabah and Sarawak people were held captives during the World War II.
Yesterday, students and Anzac veterans put wreaths and poppy flowers on the memorial, followed by a moment of silence.
“It is a great privilege to be here with the ongoing coalition that we got with the teachers training college and the admin that embrace this precinct as a very special place that need to be given its place in your history and heritage,” said Rowland.
He hopes that the students in the teaching institutes will continue to tell the stories, history and heritage of Sarawak and World War II when they become educators themselves.
“We only encourage all of those establishments to support, maintain and help us to make sure the legacy of our generation is pass on to the new younger adults,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anzac veteran Kevin Smith also presented his third book “Stories from Sandakan” to Batu Lintang Teachers Training Institute to be added to the mini museum in the institute. The book will tell of stories told by a battalion during its time serving in Sandakan.
The delegates will be celebrating New Zealand Dday in Sandakan on April 25, in conjunction with the tour anniversary.