DEAR EDITOR, WW II sites have been said to be important to destinational marketing in the Solomon Islands.
Quoting from a recent article in the Island Sun newspaper it read:
“Battlefields from World War II form an important part of Solomon Islands history so do the heritage, which forms an important component of the Solomon Islands tourism products.
“WWII heritage though small, standalone as a special interest market, focusing on the relatives of WWII veterans and historians from USA, Australia and Japan, but also appealing to a broader market interested in recent history.
“There are many sites around Honiara and on Guadalcanal including the American War Memorial, Thin Red Line and Bloody Ridge. Iron Bottom Sound, Tulagi and Western Province also contain sign cant sites from WWII.
“Meanwhile, most sites however are poorly presented, poorly maintained and in many instances have limited information and documentation associated with them.
“Unlike PNG (Kokoda Track) or Vanuatu (SS President Coolidge) there has been no combined effort to support the development of an iconic WWII site into a major tourism attraction.”
Source: Island Sun newspaper.
Apart from the necessity, as I see it, of better maintaining and preserving the historic battle sites, one should remember that those battle sites also contain the last remains of many deceased soldiers.
It is believed that about 300 Americans and a staggering figure of 20,000 Japanese are still listed as missing.
The battle for Guadalcanal during World War II will remain forever as a battle that changed the course of history in the Pacific.
The historical significance of this means that the Solomon Islands must do all it can to ensure that all those who lost their lives and are still unrecovered are given respect by way of maintaining the battle fields befitting how we should care for the deceased.
I have visited the Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore and also visited the Chungkai War Graves Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand.
Both those places of final rest are beautifully maintained and living gardens of peace and rest.