Tongan Royals Attend Memorial for Ferry Victims

  September 7, 2009 at 3:25 am by

Following some criticism of the Tongan King’s absence from the island kingdom, Crown Prince Tupouto’a Lavaka has called for closure in a speech at a memorial service for those who died when the ferry the Princess Ashika sank. During his speech he emphasised that whilst they had gathered to remember those who were lost, they must also celebrate the lives saved.

Crown Prince Tupouto’a Lavaka called for the people of Tonga to band together, and support each other, saying that “In times of national crisis nations are forged and defined. I believe that this is the greatest disaster this country has suffered since the influenza epidemic of 1918. I pray, and appeal to you all – that now is the time to put aside differences. Now is the time to work together.”

The Crown Prince also commended the “spirit of cooperation and getting the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible” of the military personnel of Tonga, Australia and New Zealand, and of the Tongan civilians.

A ceremony was also held at sea, above the sunken ship; it was attended by the Princess Regent, Princess Pilolevu Tuita. The princess and other dignitaries dropped wreaths into the water, and a plaque bearing the names of those lost in the tragedy.

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