AUSSIE LAWMAKER ASKS PNG TO HONOR KOKODA VETS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 26) – An Australian politician has asked the Papua New Guinea government to declare a day to honour the infamous Kokoda campaign of World War II.

Charlie Lynn, a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly who has been associated with the Kokoda Track for many years, has written to Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare seeking support for the declaration of an official "Kokoda Day" in Papua New Guinea. "I do not propose this as a holiday but as an official day of commemoration to encourage schools, veterans, community organisations, business and government to reflect on the service and sacrifice of PNG and Australian servicemen and women and the carriers in the New Guinea campaigns during the Pacific War," Mr Lynn says in a letter sent to Sir Michael.

Mr Lynn proposes that November 3 be proclaimed as "Kokoda Day" because it is the day when the Australian flag was raised in Kokoda towards the end of the Kokoda campaign. The letter states: "The symbolism of the raising of the flag is important because it was the culmination of an extraordinary effort against all odds by American, Australian and PNG naval, army and air forces and civilian carriers and coast-watchers."

Mr Lynn says in his letter that he believes the proclamation of the day in PNG would encourage many Australian tourists to attend commemorative ceremonies at Kokoda and Bomana War Cemetery. This year, about 700 trekkers walked the Kokoda Trail to commemorate ANZAC Day. They also attended the dawn service at Bomana War Cemetery.

May 29, 2006

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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