On 100th anniversary of WWI, servicemen remember fallen warriors at Tugu Negara

Members of the Malaysia Armed Forces laying paper poppy wreaths at the base of the National Monument’s cenotaph, during the Armistice Centennial Service in Kuala Lumpur, November 11, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Some 100 people from all over the world gathered at the National Monument Park here early this morning to pay respects to the fighters who perished in past conflicts here before Malaysia was born.

Organised by the British High Commission in conjunction with Remembrance Sunday, this year’s Armistice Service marks the centennial of the First World War, along with the 70th anniversary of the start of the Emergency, which ran on until 1960.

Grizzled old men with weathered faces and burnished medals pinned on their chests stood silently before the cenotaph, some ramrod straight, others with their heads bowed seemingly in prayer.

Hailing from various organisations including the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans and the Malayan Volunteers, many looked like they fought in the Emergency against the communist threat as young men.

Military servicemen, mostly from Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand, India, Kenya and Ghana, saluted and attendees lines up to lay poppy wreaths at the base of the cenotaph. Even former archenemy, Germany sent its representative to pay their respects.

Amidst all these, a children’s choir from the International School @ Park City in Segambut here sang hymns accompanied by the mournful sound of bagpipes played by a team from the Royal Gurkha Rifles, 2RGR.

British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell said this year’s service drove home the impact of the sacrifices made by those who perished on the battlefield.

“The debt of gratitude we owe all those who gave their lives for our liberty is greater than ever. It is up to us to make sure we do not squander that legacy, and with each annual remembrance we are reminded not to do so,” she said in her address.

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