Remember the fallen

Yesterday, May 19, 2016, was celebrated worldwide as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon is reported to have said: “On this day we honour our heroes — the more than one million men and women who have served under the United Nations flag with pride, distinction and courage since the first deployment in 1948.”

He added: “And we pay our highest tribute to the more than 3400 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while in service during that period.”

Our beloved Fiji, in our small corner of the globe is a major contributor to the UN international peacekeeping efforts.

Fiji’s contribution can be aptly described, relatively speaking, as “how so few, can contribute so much for the benefit of so many”.

Our peacekeepers and their families were and are not immune to the vagaries of such missions. Some mission theatres were pleasant to serve in.

Others, were not too kind to seeing blue berets and the UN ensign in their midst. As a result, some of our kinsmen paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Their families lost sons, brothers, husbands, fathers and breadwinners. It is accepted that such is the price that comes with the turf of being an international servant under the auspices of the UN.

Like the UN Secretary- General, I too would like to pay tribute to and honour all fellow Fijians and global citizens who have worn and are wearing the blue beret or have served under the different UN missions worldwide.

In particular, I salute and remember those who lost their lives during such service.

May we all continue in our joint efforts to share a piece of Fiji and bequeath some peace to those that daily seek the ever elusive comforts of a day without armed conflict.

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