Tonga Remembers World War I Sacrifices on ANZAC Day

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91 soldiers served, 14 died on the battlefield

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 25, 2015) –Tonga remembered its 91 soldiers sent to the battle fields of Gallipoli, Turkey and also to France and Palestine during the First World War, and the soldiers sent to other conflicts and peace keeping missions since then, at the ANZAC Centenary Dawn Service held at the Cenotaph, Pangai Si’i this morning 25 April 2015.

The Tongan soldiers joined the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary force, and 14 of them died in the battle field 100 years ago.

HM King Tupou VI laid a wreath from the people of Tonga at the Cenotaph, followed by wreaths laid by diplomats, military and national representatives.

The ANZAC address was given by the Australian High Commissioner, HE Brett Aldam; with the Acting Tongan Prime Minister Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni; and the New Zealand Acting High Commissioner, HE Linda Te Puni.

Master of Ceremonies was LCDR David Ince of the Royal Australian Navy, and the service was led by Captain Sila Siufanga the Regional Commander of the Salvation Army, Tonga.

As the sun rose, the Ode of Remembrance was recited by AB Heamasi Leameivaka RNZN in English, and by LT Veikune HMAF in Tongan:

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. We will remember them. Lest we forget.

‘E ‘ikai te nau toe motu‘a, ‘o hangē ko e hoholo ke motu‘a ‘akitautolú ‘E ‘ikai ha toe ongosia pē ha toe liliu ‘i honau ngaahi ta‘ú ‘I he tō hifo ‘a e la‘aá pea mo e pongipongi foki Te tau manatu‘i aipē kinautolu

The 2015 ANZAC remembrance at Panagi Si‘i may be the last, as plans have been made to bulldoze the Pangai Si’i park, for the construction of a new multi-storey government building. Construction was postponed until after the Coronation this year.

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