Monday, September 12, 2005

Commemoration Ceremony at Kranji War Cemetary

We were at Kranji War Cemetary on the morning of 12 September for the Commemoration Ceremony marking the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II in Southeast Asia.

The sacrifice of those who fell for Singapore's defence weighed heavily upon us, as we walked past the neatly aligned graves.

Wee though the hours may be, the troops and uniformed groups were out in full force.

Raffles Voices' mournful rendition of 'Amazing Grace' set the tone for the day.

We didn't expect there'd be such a big crowd, this early on a Monday morning

There were young and old, locals and foreigners, civilians and uniformed personnels, dignitaries and ordinary folk - all gathered for a common purpose.

The morning's proceedings took place at the Inscription Wall.

Seeing the various religious leaders offering prayers together was indeed an affirmation of the religious tolerance we've worked hard at.

Military dignitaries took turn laying wreaths and paying their respects.

Thinking of the horror they'd endured and the friends that they'd lost , witnessing war Veterans laying wreaths was an emotional experience.

Dr Warren Lee, MP Sembawang GRC, followed with a heart-felt reading of Rupert Brooke's 'The Dead'.

'Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead
There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men all age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.'

Madam Halimah Yacob, MP Jurong GRC, recital of 'For the Fallen' touched many in the audience.

'They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.'

This was followed by the reveille, where a minute's silence was observed, followed by the lowering and raising of the flag.

As Kemal Ataturk's ode 'Our Sons' was read by journalist Ms Peh Siok Lian, we couldn't help but imagine all the families who've been affected by the war.

"Those heroes that shed their blood
and lost their lives,
you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country
therefore, rest in peace.

There is no difference between the Johnnies
and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
here in this country of ours.

You, the mothers
Who sent their sons from far away countries
wipe away your tears;
your sons are now lying in our bosom
and are in peace,
after having lost their lives on this land they have
become our sons as well.

And how people from different nations came to defend our land, sometimes at great personal cost. A point which the Navigational Star seeks to remind us of.

The event ended with a bagpiper's lament underscoring all our sorrow.

We then walked around Kranji Memorial, where we discovered these subtle tributes:

The Memorial Register held names of visitors to the Memorial. The list showed visitors from far and near, who came to pay respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Names from the Malay regiment. Lt Adnan's name is inscribed in the lower left corner.

A solitary salute to those who fell.

We Will Not Forget.


Blogger oceanskies79 said...

Yes, I will not forget how bravely they have fought against the invaders.

8:34 AM  

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