A CENTURY since World War 1 in 1914, some 200 veteran army officers and leaders got together to hold a solemn ceremony to honour fallen heroes at the Cenotaph (Penang War Memorial) at the Esplanade, George Town.
Representatives of several High Commissions from Commonwealth nations, Penang Veterans Association (PVA) members, armed forces personnel (Royal Malaysian Police, Army and Navy) and the public gathered for the 13th Annual Remembrance Day.
Among them were British High Commissioner-designate to Malaysia Vicki Treadell, Republic of the Fiji Islands High Commissioner to Malaysia Meli Bainimarama, Ambassador of Nepal to Malaysia Dr Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat, Consul-General of Indonesia Ronald J.P. Manik and acting Consul-General of Thailand Chongcharoen Devahastin Na Ayudhaya.
Wreaths were laid, accompanied by salutations by members of the armed forces and music by the Royal Malaysian Army band.
“We must not forget that during the World War 1, World War 2 and the local insurgency known as the Malayan Emergency in 1948, veterans in all these armed conflicts displayed unbelievable courage, bravery, endurance, commitment and endured extreme hardship to ensure victory and freedom.
“They were ordinary men and women who did extraordinary things including losing their lives for the cause of freedom for their families and country,” said PVA president Mej (B) Sivarajan Ramanathan in his speech.
He added that the recent ceremony was solely to remember and to honour the fallen heroes irrespective of nationality, race, religion or language. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was also present.
“When World War 1 ended in 1918, the people of Penang constructed the cenotaph in Esplanade with the fervent hope that there will be no more wars, but unfortunately there have been numerous other armed conflicts in the last 100 years.
“The time has came for us not to declare war to kill each other or inflict mindless violence amongst us. If there is to be war, let us declare war on ignorance, injustice, poverty, extremism, disease, racism and corruption,” said Lim.