Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Speech at the Launch of the 2012 Poppy Appeal

Bula Vinaka and a very warm welcome to you all.

It is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to officiate at today’s occasion and to share a few words to remember the courageous Fijian men and women of the Fijian armed services.

Today marks the Launch of the Annual Poppy Appeal in Fiji.

This red flower has become a worldwide symbol of commemoration for our fallen heroes, veterans and enlisted servicemen and women.

Proceeds collected from this one-month long appeal – ending on November 11th, Remembrance Day – will go toward supporting the Ex-Servicemen’s Association, an organization that provides critical services to our ex-servicemen and women.

The use of the poppy was first inspired by the famous World War I poem, “In Flanders Fields.” In the opening lines this poem makes reference to the poppy, a sign of hope, growing from the unmarked graves of fallen soldiers. Since then, the poppy has become synonymous with Remembrance Day around the world.

My fellow Fijians, I need hardly remind you of our nation’s notable and distinguished record of service in past wars, including both World Wars, as well as present day Peacekeeping Missions in such places as Sinai, South Sudan and Iraq, to name a few.

As Fijians, we believe that it is the responsibility of all nations to work together to make the world a safer place by bringing peace to troubled regions.

As a nation, we can be proud of the fact that we have always made and continue to make contributions to international Peacekeeping efforts far beyond what is expected of a country of our size.

The men and women who stand side-by-side with comrades from across the globe risk their lives in service to this calling. A calling that is deeply embraced by the citizens of our country. By our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is their duty to serve, and it is our duty to honour that service and remember all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the course of that service.

By purchasing a poppy, we are showing our support and demonstrating our gratitude. It is a small gesture that we can make to acknowledge the important role our servicemen and women play.

I encourage all Fijians to show your support by buying a poppy and wearing it proudly, so that we can stand united in the performance of our duty – our duty to remember.

Vinaka vakalevu, thank you.