My friends and family are all together this weekend, observing Memorial Day in the U.S. It is on occasions like this one that I lament being so far away. Even so, I want to express my appreciation to all veterans and their families (especially those near and dear to my heart – you know who you are) and to acknowledge your losses.
As I thought about Memorial Day, I remembered that I live in a place that played a significant role in the Pacific during World War II. Back home in Texas, many would be hard pressed to find Papua New Guinea on a map, but I can always tell when I’m talking to a WWII veteran of the Pacific Campaign. Their age and that knowing look in their eye tell me I don’t have to explain to them where Papua New Guinea is or what all occurred here in the South Pacific.
So, here is a little history that connects me and my far away home, to my beloved veterans in the United States:
In May of 1942, Japanese forces were intercepted and defeated by American air and naval forces in the Coral Sea. What remained of the Japanese expedition returned to Rabaul where they decided to attack Port Moresby from Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. They held the base at Bougainville until Americans and Australians began the New Guinea Offensives towards the end of 1943. 
The offensives involved thousands of Australian troops in jungle warfare and succeeded in giving Douglas MacArthur a firm base in New Guinea to launch another campaign for the capture of the Philippines.
Those who died in the fighting in Papua and Bougainville are buried in PORT MORESBY (BOMANA) WAR CEMETERY, their graves brought in by the Australian Army Graves Service from burial grounds in the areas where the fighting had taken place. The PORT MORESBY MEMORIAL stands behind the cemetery and commemorates almost 750 men of the Australian Army (including Papua and New Guinea local forces), the Australian Merchant Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force who lost their lives in the operations in Papua and who have no known graves.
This post is dedicated to all those I know and love who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Your sacrifices and your personal losses are acknowledged and appreciated by me as I live freely on the other side of the world. I also want to express appreciation for those I’ve met here in PNG who have served in the Australian Defence Forces.Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as in all points tempted like as we are, bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us. ~Alexander MacLaren