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The President and Executives of Returned Soldiers and
Ex-Servicemen Association;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Ni sa bula vinaka and welcome to you all.

It is my pleasant duty to officiate at today’s launching of the 2018 Poppy Appeal. Every year, we commemorate the Remembrance Day to honour individuals who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of peace and freedom we enjoy today.

The Poppy flower symbolizes courage and commitment and this is an attribute shown by our forefathers when answering the call to arms when called upon at that time. It has been an integral part of Remembrance Day not only in Fiji but for all the Allied countries that fought against tyranny to ensure peace and prosperity. Since 1921, the remembrance Poppy has also become an international symbol to remember and honor service personnel that took part in the various conflict theaters during one of the darkest period in our global existence.

The launching of this Poppy Appeal today shows our continuous recognition of the gallant sacrifice made by the sons and daughters of Fiji who served in the Fijian Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars, the Malayan Campaign, Christmas Island operations and the various peacekeeping missions around the world, where our Fijian servicemen and women have flown our national flag high.

Historically, amid the devastation and carnage in the battlefields of France after the First World War, the Red Poppy was one of the first plants that sprang up signifying hope of a new beginning but it is a testament of the blood, sweat and tears of those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy today. Freedom that many of us take for granted!

Today, we are thankful that we have with us a handful of our elders who served in World War I & II and also in Malaya and Christmas Island campaigns. We have also with us those who served as peacekeepers in various missions that we were mandated to serve in. We still maintain our presence in the Sinai Peninsula, Iraq, Syria and are performing for the sake of international peace and security.

Ladies and gentlemen, in launching this Poppy Appeal, I invite everyone to take part in this worthy cause in remembrance of the fallen. And concurrently, honour those who are still with us today, though their numbers are dwindling as the time goes by. Effectively, ALL donations from the Poppy Appeal will go towards the Returned Soldiers and Ex-Servicemen’s Association that is run by, and for, our ex-servicemen and women. The Government continues to play its part in nation building through the various programs that has benefitted our ex-service personnel.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we owe our freedom to those that gave their today for our tomorrow, they withstood the test of time and heeded the call to guarantee peace and freedom we enjoy today.

Let us all support this Poppy Appeal to provide them honour and comfort in their twilight years.

Ladies and gentlemen, Buy a poppy and wear it proudly every day until the 11 day of November.

Vinaka vakalevu and May God Bless Us All.

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