Speech by Hon. James Marape, MP Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, ANZAC Day Service Bomana War Cemetery

Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Commander of the PNG Defence Force;

Secretary of the Department of Defence;

Veterans and service men and women;

The Port Moresby RSL Branch;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

The commemoration of those who died in war gives us an opportunity to offer our gratitude and to thank them for their sacrifice.

This year is another important milestone as we remember the conflict that took place on our soil almost 80 years ago.

The Kokoda campaign lasted only four months, but it was of some of the most intense fighting of the war.

For Papua New Guinea, Kokoda was the most defining battle in which both Papua and New Guinea were engaged in and we will forever remember the Second World War and its travesties.

In our commemoration today we also remember fighting that occurred in Milne Bay, Morobe, Madang, Sepik, Manus, East New Britain, Bougainville, Central, Oro and today their hold everlasting imprints of these travesties and devastation that only wars can cause on humanity.

Today we pay tribute to the soldiers, sailors and airmen and air women, and to our war carriers and medical orderlies, who took part in these conflicts.

Beyond death on the battlefield, the pain and suffering from the war conflict continues to this day.

Physical and emotional damage is carried by many veterans for the rest of their lives.

While there are not many veterans from the Second World War still with us, we offer our eternal gratitude for their sacrifice.

On ANZAC Day, and on our own National Remembrance Day, we will continue to commemorate the men and women who lost their lives in the defence of our freedom.

The horror of conflict in the Second World War also laid the foundations for the building of relations between the our people, and the people of the countries we partner today.

With us today, and at services around the nation, we have young people from these countries.

They, who have joined us, have come to pay their respects, and we welcome each and every one of you to Papua New Guinea.

The spirit of service, and the commemoration of sacrifice, must impart on our young generation.

Today, the countries of people who fought and died in the Second World War are friends.

We work together to build a more harmonious world.

With the uncertainty and prospect of war that confronts the world today. We must be resolute in our commitment to protect our peoples to find peace.

I thank our distinguished guests for honouring our shared history with your presence today.

Your sons and daughters, who lay in our soil, will forever be respected and will forever be honoured.

Lest we forget.