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Yesterday   2005     2004     2003     2002     2001     2000     1999

60th anniversary of the end of World War II

Source: www.gov.sg

SPEECH BY MR LEE BOON YANG,MINISTER FOR INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, AT 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF WORLD WAR II COMMEMORATION CEREMONY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2005, 7.00 AM AT KRANJI WAR CEMETERY

An Excerpt

Today, we are gathered here at the Kranji War Cemetery, to remember and to reflect on all those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the terrible war that ended sixty years ago.
This ceremony is our sincere expression of gratitude to all the brave soldiers who lost their lives in the war that ended sixty years ago and who had been laid to rest within this Cemetery.
Sixty years is not a very long time in the history of some nations. But it is for Singapore. Barely a month ago, we had celebrated our 40th National Day.
We are a young nation and the passage of sixty years has seen the birth of new generations of Singaporeans who know about World War II only from the history books.
Sixty years have also dimmed the memories of even the survivors who had to endure the hardship and horrors of the war and occupation.
However two dates will remain etched indelibly and deeply in the history of Singapore.
On February 15, 1942, some 100,000 British Commonwealth troops led by Lt-Gen Arthur E. Percival, General Officer Commanding Malaya, surrendered to the invading Japanese army of about 30,000 men commanded by Lt-Gen Yamashita Tomoyuki.
Singapore fell, some 30 days ahead of the Japanese schedule, and was transformed into a hub for Japanese operational plans for the region as Syonan-to (Light of the South).
The fall of Singapore was a new chapter in Singapore¡¯s history, marked by bloodshed, misery and unimaginable suffering. But it was also a chapter marked by great sacrifice, courage and perseverance among the many who lived through that period.
Three years later, on September 12, 1945, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander in SE Asia, accepted the surrender of Japanese troops in the region with the signing of the surrender document by Gen Seishiro Itagaki at the Municipal Building (City Hall) and the ceremony was followed by a parade of victorious allied troops....
Preserving the memories
While the memories of the War and the horrors of the Occupation are still vivid in the minds of the survivors, we will ensure that future generations of Singaporeans appreciate and understand the heroism, hardships and sacrifices of those who had to live through this painful period of our history.
It is for this reason that we have committed resources to the preservation of our WWII heritage sites at Bukit Timah, Pasir Panjang and other parts of Singapore.
We have marked these sites so as to remember those who came from many lands to defend Singapore ¨C from Australia, Britain, Hong Kong, India, then Malaya, Nepal, New Zealand -- and also our local militia and unnamed volunteers.
Many soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice in carrying out their duties. This Kranji War Cemetery honours the military casualties while the War Memorial Park in the city honours the civilians victims helping to ensure that memory of the War and occupation would not fade away with each passing year.
Moving On
Today¡¯s ceremony has a particular significance in that by the end of this decade, the ranks will be too thin and the survivors too frail for the veterans of 1945 to muster yet again ¨C be it on the Normandy beaches in France and elsewhere or at memorials like the Kranji War Cemetery in the Asia-Pacific theatre.
In April this year, Japan¡¯s Prime Minister Mr Junichiro Koizumi made a formal apology at the 50th anniversary of the Non-aligned Movement summit of Asian and African leaders in Bandung. He reiterated Japan¡¯s apology more recently in Tokyo on August 15 2005 while at an event marking the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII.
We must face history squarely so that we can move on to build a new chapter. In Singapore, we have taken pains to educate our younger generations on the lessons of the War so that we can build a better future.
Today¡¯s ceremony is important in reminding us of the tragedy of war. This remembrance ceremony honors the sacrifice and suffering of many during the dark years of WWII. For those who lived through the war, the wounds have taken a long time to heal and the memories will not be forgotten.
As we reflect on the 60th Anniversary of the end of that war, it is time for us to heal these old wounds and to look towards strengthening peace, stability and friendly cooperation for the future.

Full Text of Speech

Related Links:
Our Heritage : World War II

Source: www.gov.sg Media Release 12 Sep 2005

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Monday

12 September 2005