My friend who had fought several wars as part of the infantry brought me to look at this landmark site.
It probably held some significance to him, but I had a brief look around and it did not interest me.
All that it meant to me was that during WWII, the Japanese had been defeated here, and the British soldiers who died in that battle lay here. I looked at the landscape and sat down to enjoy the view of the city from the hilltop and did not follow my friends who went around the cemetery for an hour long look.
As I sat and waited for them, I got restless and began to walk around, reading the inscriptions on the gravestones. And that got me engaged.
The first one had me choking, and I walked on, reading, thinking, and feeling the feelings that were embedded in those words.
A few of the sad inscriptions…
At one stone I broke down and cried – for a boy who at died at 19, laid to rest by his mother.
My son is 19, and is currently serving in the army.
And the saddest ones of them all – the despair of wives and sweethearts:
The absurdity of an avoidable death, the unfair exchange of lives for land, and pursuit of greed of a few individuals in power who have a flair to convince others to give up their lives ….all these realisations sank in and made me sad.
The broken hearted grief of a mother and of daughters, the screaming grief of a lover, and despair of a pregnant widow ….was it worth the win?
Dec 12th, 2010