Labuan Remembrance Day

This year marks the 104th Anniversary of Labuan Remembrance Day since the end of the First World War in 1918.

Dec 02, 2022

Remembrance Day at the Labuan War Memorial in Jalan Tanjung Batu on Nov 13, 2022 (photo/ Roslan Hj Alias facebook)

This year marks the 104th Anniversary of Labuan Remembrance Day since the end of the First World War in 1918. To commemorate the fallen heroes, a gathering was held on Nov 13 at the Labuan War Memorial in Jalan Tanjung Batu here.

In the town’s calendar, Remembrance Day is marked as an official and significant event, held every year on the Sunday closest to Nov 11. The ceremony is conducted in full military tradition to honour the sacrifice of the 3,908 war heroes from Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, India, and other Commonwealth countries.

At the opening of the ceremony, event coordinator, Wille Teo, heightened the significance of the historical event, followed by prayer services, The Sound of the Last Post, The Moment of Silence, Lament, Reveille, and the Laying of Wreaths.

Leading the Christian prayer service rooted in the Gospel of John 15:9-17:9 was Fr Thomas Madanan, parish priest of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament Labuan. In a short homily, he said:

“Jesus asserts his supernatural friendship marked by self-sacrificial love. His call to lay down one’s life for the other is the truest call to heroism.

“We are here to embody that love as we pray for our departed brothers and sisters who laid down their lives for the good of others. Let us honour them, let us pray for them, for the ultimate end; the goal of this friendship is the salvation of souls.

“Brothers and sisters, wonderful to see that we are here in this historical event. In the name of Jesus, may we have greater peace, heavenly peace, the Kingdom of Heaven spread throughout the world. Amen.”

Fr Madanan was inspired by the solemn honouring of the fallen heroes on a personal and deeper level. Moreover, in light of this year’s 165th anniversary of the Catholic Mission in Labuan, the life and times of Don Carlos Cuarteron, First Prefect of Borneo, came to mind.

“Having passed his initial examinations in navigation, Don Carlos gained his first sea-going appointment in April 1831; the following year, he had qualified as a ‘Third Class for the Indies Route’ certifying him as competent to navigate between Manila and the China coast.

September 1834 brought further advancement; he was licensed as a Second Class Pilot for the Indies Route and appointed captain of the brig Cantabro. At the age of 18, Don Carlos assumed his first command.” (Taken from Crowned with the Stars: The Life and Times of Don Carlos Cuateron by Mike Gibby).

Don Carlos Cuateron was a visionary, missionary, a tireless redeemer of slaves, and a very brave man who devoted his life and fortune to campaign tirelessly against slavery and piracy in Borneo.

Remembrance Day reminds all of us every year, of the heartbreak and destruction that war left behind. As we mourn and honour the brave heroes who have fought for our freedom, there is also an undeniable sense of patriotism to stand together and fight against those who seek to persecute us.--Catholic Sabah

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