Fiji pays tribute to the fallen

Waka Naivalu (2nd from left) with other retired military officers attends the Fiji Ex-servicemen League Remembrance Day at Viseisei Village in Lautoka yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

IT was a solemn day of reflection and commemoration for former servicemen as they marked Remembrance Day across the country yesterday.

A ceremony was hosted for the Fiji Ex-Servicemens League at Viseisei Village in Lautoka by Tui Vuda Ratu Eparama Kitione Tavaiqia.

Among those in attendance was Waka Naivalu, 61.

Originally from Yalobi Village, Waya, Yasawa, Mr Naivalu said he joined the military when he was 23 before retiring about four years ago.

“Life in the service is very challenging but you have to understand the big picture,” he said.

“The United Nations peacekeeping is an extended arm of the foreign policy of government and helps open relationships with governments at UN level.”

He also acknowledged the many Fijian great servicemen before him and his peers, in particular Ratu Edward Cakobau, Ratu Penaia Ganilau and Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna.

Mr Naivalu said Fijian servicemen had made tremendous sacrifices for their nation.

He himself has been part of peacekeeping missions to Lebanon, Sinai, East Timor and Iraq.

“What I have noticed now is that peacekeeping missions have changed.

For example, when I was in Lebanon, the rules of engagement were more confrontational.

Now, that same role for peacekeepers could be an observer and negotiation role.

“This is a day of commemoration for us. It is an honour to hold it in Viseisei and we would like to thank the Tui Vuda for hosting us.”

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I

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