Living in Singapore, it was also the chance to give them some insight into the Second World War sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians. They know Mammy spent a number of years as a soldier, but I want them to understand why. Military service isn’t for everyone, but everyone does have a community role to play. It's a core belief: the world doesn’t revolve around you. You should revolve around the world.
Today, the world is still fighting. Today, religion and politics still muddy the water; water that is supposed to be clear, a life-giver, available to all.
So yesterday we got up before the sun, and headed to the Kranji War Memorial to pay our respects on Remembrance Sunday. I didn’t have to tell my children to behave. The solemnity and calm pervading from every attendee ensured they understood they were in a special place. They understood that soldiers in the past have kept us safe and we were saying thank you. If every child grew up remembering that, knowing their place in the world, and feeling confident that they could make a positive contribution, I’m sure there would be a true understanding of the meaning of respect. Maybe then we would have peace.
About the Kranji War Cemetery
Originally an ammunition depot, the site became a Prisoner of War (POW) camp and hospital after the Japanese Occupation in 1942. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission created a permanent war cemetery after the war, and graves were transferred from other areas, including the Buona Vista POW Camp and the Changi camp, to ensure they would be looked after. The War Cemetery was officially opened in March 1957. There are almost 4,500 burials marked by headstones and the memorial contains the names of 24,000 names of missing personnel.
To learn more about Singapore during the Second World War, visit the National Heritage Board.