May 6, 2013

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press

April 25, 2013 Pohnpei, FM -Before the sun peaked over the hills of Paliais, people of all ages and many nationalities began to arrive at the residence compound of the Royal Australian Navy for the 98th Anniversary Dawn Service commemoration of ANZAC Day on the shores of the Nett River. Pohnpei's commemoration was one of thousands held at dawn on April 25 all over the world.

ANZAC Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The young soldiers of the ANZACs fought and fell in their thousands on battlefields in many foreign lands. Each year dawn services are held to commemorate the ANZACs and their remarkable example of self sacrifice.

Father Ken Urumolug led the crowd in prayers and also in the singing of the hymn "Abide With Me".

Chief Petty Office Andrew Hamilton read the famous poem "In Flanders Fields". Lt. Commander Geoff Hart Davies gave the ANZAC Day address, "For Australians and New Zealanders, ANZAC Day is a time to reflect with pride and gratitude.

"This year will mark 98 years since the first brave young Australian and New Zealand soldiers rushed ashore at Gallipoli, unaware they would create a legacy and an enduring identity that defines today's Australians and New Zealanders.

"The legacy of ANZAC lies at the spiritual heart of Australia and New Zealand. The legacy is for all of us, an eternal possession we should value and cherish forever. "Our ANZAC legend, which embodies the values of courage, determination and mateship defines our national character. "ANZAC Day is a significant date in our commemorative calendar. On this day, we remember the young lives lost and pay tribute to the many who have died at war. We pause to reflect upon the loss of men and women, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and mates, whose bright futures were cut short, defending our democracy and the values we uphold.

"Many communities have their own war memorial, which record the names of those lost and which stand as an everlasting reminder of the high cost of war. It is the responsibility of all of us to continue to encourage young Australians to seek a greater understanding of the ANZAC spirit and encourage them to ensure it is never lost."

Various representatives laid memorial wreaths on the war memorial. One wreath was laid in memory of all servicemen and women who have paid the supreme sacrifice. Another wreath was laid on behalf of the Australian Defence Force; another on behalf of all Micronesian members and veterans of the US Armed Forces. A wreath was laid on behalf of the FSM National Police, and one each on behalf of all Australians and New Zealanders. A wreath was laid on behalf of the National Government and people of the FSM, another on behalf of the people of the USA, and another on behalf of the people of Japan.

The wreath laying ceremony was followed by a reading of the Anzac Ode followed by the sounding of the Last Post and one minute of silence. Following the silence reveille was sounded while Jack Bricknell raised the Australian flag and Chanelle Tallon raised the New Zealand flag.

The dawn service ended after the playing of the National Anthems of Australia and New Zealand.

The dawn service was followed up by the traditional gunfire breakfast on the grounds of the Kangaroo Court.