Commemorating the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal

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DEAR EDITOR, the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, the Hon. Rick Hou, spoke yesterday during the commemoration of the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The Prime Minister in invoking memories of the battle that raged in the Solomon Islands now 76 years ago, used some fine words which centered on reconciliation, common interests and shared values and remarks which are worthy of quoting.

The PM reportedly said.

“Solomon Islands, which once provided a battle field for Japanese and US Allied Forces, now enjoys a cordial relations with both the US and Japan respectively.”

He went on to talk about how the battle had brought cooperation between Japan and the USA and said how this had become a telling factor that “peace is within our reach if we allow it to prevail, and the power of reconciliation can turn adversaries into friends.”

Prime Minister Hou also emphasized the very strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that now existed between the USA and Japan.

During the commemoration ceremony nine relatives of Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers were presented with medals in remembrance of the service and sacrifices their forbears had made during the Second World War.

The medals were made possible by the Government of Australia.

At each annual commemorative ceremony I think back of the outstanding service to the nation by Sir Jacob Vouza, KBE, GM, MBE, CPM an early member of the Solomon Islands Police.

All the former Scouts and Coastwatchers demonstrated courage and valour during the battle but Sir Jacob Vouza’s name and service has been inexplicably woven into the battle for Guadalcanal.

It was a privilege during my brief term in office during 1997 and 1998 to officiate at a wreath laying ceremony at Rove during which Sir Jacobs, son, the late David Vouza, laid a wreath at the foot of the monument featuring a statue of his father.

Yesterday’s commemorations in Honiara were especially fitting because of the fine words having been spoken but also because it should never be forgotten the tremendous losses on both sides with approximately 7,100 casualties for the US and 38,000 for the Japanese.

“Lest we Forget.”

Yours sincerely

Frank Short