to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead

19c. CWGC ceremonies

The main Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery (and to a lesser extent the smaller cemetery at Chung Kai) are the site of annual and special ceremonies marking days of special importance.

The largest largest such ceremony is held annually to mark ANZAC Day (25 APR). Ambassadors, Thai Government dignitaries, military members of Allied nations and hundreds of interested spectators gather to commemorate the lives of the men who lived and died on the TBR. Until recently, former POWs would attend and be so honored. But sadly time had taken its toll where the TBR could not. Few of the former POWs are alive and they are too old to travel to attend. Even without them, this ceremony will persist in its remembrance of their ordeal.

In 2018, we also gathered there on the 75th anniversary of the October completion date of the TBR in a unique evening ceremony. More recently, was the marking the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. Though these ceremonies were small compared to the ANZAC DAY events, they were no less meaningful and moving.

75th ann of TBR completion

75th ann of VJ Day

A surprise to all was the appearance of a 90+yo former CWGC employee
who tended the graves at Chung Kai for over 50 years.

Each such ceremony is attended by many US VFW members. Following the main event at the cemetery, we retire to hold a smaller, but no less meaningful wreath laying at the VFW memorial beside the bridge.

At one such gathering I provided a brief history lesson on the US POWs

ANZAC DAY ceremonies are the largest annual event. The Australian and New Zealand Embassies alternate sponsorship.

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