Minister calls for contributions to veterans’ cemetery

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Defence minister Tea Banh in Koh Kong province on Monday. Tea Banh via Facebook

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh called on all charitable people to continue contributing to the construction and renovation of the Koh Kong veterans’ cemetery.

The cemetery is exclusively reserved as a resting place for the remains of veterans who lost their lives while serving in Cambodia’s armed forces.

The defence minister’s remarks were made during a groundbreaking ceremony for construction and repairs at the veterans’ cemetery on February 23.

The ceremony was also attended by a number of other government and military officials as well as the relatives of some of the veterans who have been interred or memorialised there.

Banh said that the purpose of the cemetery was to ensure that Cambodia always remembered the great merit of its soldiers and the heroic deeds of the cadres and the patriots who had sacrificed their bodies and their lives in the battle to liberate the motherland from the hands of the brutal regime of Pol Pot in order to save the Khmer people and revive Cambodian society.

Banh requested that the public help with additional donations at this time in order for the construction to proceed smoothly and to be finished as planned.

“Everyone please continue to contribute money, materials, equipment and any other available assistance that could help facilitate the work of the construction crew and the successful completion of the cemetery in accordance with the plans of the government’s working group in Koh Kong province,” Banh said.

Banh added that the attendance at the ceremony and at other similar events by all those present was an expression of gratitude for the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives and that it would help the next generation understand the history of those who came before them and what they went through as well as provide valuable lessons to the younger generation about building the nation today and defending it in the future.

Yun Min, defence ministry secretary of state and chairman of the construction committee for the veterans’ cemetery, said: “Now we’d like to see a groundswell of support from the public so we ask all Cambodian citizens to please get involved and donate to fund the construction of the veterans’ cemetery. We have created a Facebook page called ‘Koh Kong Veterans’ Cemetery Working Group’ with more information available on it.”

Min also mentioned that they had opened a bank account at ABA Bank to make it easier to donate and that donations had come in from all manner of people – including ordinary citizens who had never served in the military – in addition to the donations from people who are related to the veterans.

As of February 23 the total funding received from public donations was about $370,000, he said.

Min told The Post that the expert working group’s construction crews were trying to finish the job during the dry season of 2023 at the latest.

According to Min, the remains of 447 veterans will initially be buried in the cemetery, located in Koh Kong province’s Khemarak Phoumin town.

These veterans hailed from Phnom Penh and 16 other provinces and all of them lost their lives in the period of fighting that lasted from 1979 to 1998.