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Remembrance Day

Samuela Savu, Farm Rd, Nakasi
Thursday, November 09, 2017

11-11-11: the time when we remember our fallen heroes is coming up and I look forward to attending this year's march and ceremony at the National War Memorial.

I only hope there won't be a repeat of the disappointment I witnessed last year.

When the ceremony was over, everyone was invited to lunch, hosted by the President Jioji Konrote in the two tents provided.

One tent was for VIPs and the other for everyone else. The VIP tent was easily accessible while the latter was not, as it was up higher on a slope.

As we made our way for lunch, few of the elderly veterans with shiny medals across their chest and walking sticks in hand approached the VIP tent because it was easier and more logical to go to.

As they made their way in, staff looking after the space informed them they could not enter and had to go to the other tent on the slope.

What I witnessed angered me and I called the gentleman and his granddaughter back and told them to go to the VIP tent because it would be a struggle to go to the other one.

The staff there told me off for doing so and I told them off as well because Remembrance Day is dedicated to appreciating our veterans and their great sacrifices.

As far as I know we are all equal and the very least that could be done was put protocol aside to let them eat in the same tent with diplomats and government ministers.

Fortunately, there was another veteran around who shared my view and intervened.

President Konrote came by to invite the elderly veterans and everyone else around to eat with him and all the other VIPs in their tent.

I may not have been a fan of his politics but I salute and respect the President for his actions. He is the Head of State and appreciates fellow servicemen and values the people more than any VIP.

I hope this year there would be a tent for the public, VIPs and one especially for our heroes, the very brave veterans.

Lest we forget.

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