As we celebrated ANZAC day, I along with other senior RPNGC officers from my command attended the Dawn service at Lae War Cemetery.
I take my hat off, with pride for what these young men did for us. I heard the speeches, yes, it makes you realise the sacrifices that were made.
But then again, I would also like to pay tribute to all our forefathers, Papua New Guinean men, who fought alongside the Allied forces who came to this great land, to stop the Japanese advance.
Both my Grandfathers fought in this War.
After the War ended, they were both enlisted as members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and served until they retired.
My Mothers father: Late Senior Sergeant Paul Saun of Yambun village, Ambunti, East Sepik, settled, passed away and laid to rest at my late Grandmothers village, Sarang number 2, Sumkar, Madang Province.
My Father’s father: Late First Constable Steven Wagambie of Ambukanjai, Yangoru, East Sepik, settled, passed away and laid to rest at my late Grandmothers village, Hawain village, Wewak East Sepik Province.
I never met my paternal Grandfather, late Steven Wagambie. He passed away about two years before I was born.
My maternal Grandfather late Paul Saun, yes, I have a lot of childhood memories with him, which I still cherish today.
My father, (retired Police Commissioner Anton Wagambie Snr) and my late Grandfather Paul Saun used to tell me stories of what they (PNG Soldiers) went through during War Two.
My Grand Father late Steven Wagambie was recruited from East New Britain, where he was a labourer at Rapopo Plantation.
He along with other able bodied men, were taught how to load and fire a gun, then sent to the front line. The rest was natural instinct.
He (Steven Wagambie) served at Buna/ Gona along the Kokoda trail.
My late Grandfather Paul Saun went through the War in the Sepiks.
Papua New Guinean soldiers were the most fearless warriors. They did reconnaissance missions and fought the enemy head on.
They could infiltrate enemy territory and carry out jungle warfare. The jungle was their home.
I pay tribute to all of our Bubus who did what they had to do, for us to be what we are today.
Little has been said on what they had contributed.
This is my story, one of many that other families have of their Father, Grandfather or relative who fought or contributed one way or the other in the War that shaped Nations.
What we need in our country is National pride. A War Museum dedicated to our servicemen would be one way in doing that.
Our Leaders at all levels need to know our History well, and stay focused in Nation building.
Not only them but everyone. Respect each other and do what is best for our country.
“LEST WE FORGET”
God Bless your souls our Heros.
(Photo: Late Steven Wagambie at the Sydney Cricket grounds just after the War had ended. Seated second from left. )