Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the plight of the army veterans still grappling with the effects of Operation Grapple is a testament to never again allow the Pacific environment to be violated by outside powers "in such a destructive and terrible manner".
Tears flowed as 26 of the 80 surviving soldiers exposed to radiation during British nuclear tests on Christmas Island in 1958 received payment of more than $F9000 each from the Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Suva today.
Mere Tavo (middle) flanked by two of her four siblings with a framed photo of their father, Kelepi Bainivalu who passed away one year ago today at the age of 56. Photo: Courtesy of: Mereseini Tavo
While other families celebrate Father’s Day, 22-year-old Mereseini Tavo of Tacirua and her four siblings mourn the death of their father, Kelepi Bainivalu who passed away one year ago today at the age of 56 after a long illness.
Accompanied by her siblings, Tavo visited their father’s grave with sadness to remember ad celebrate his life and his memories.
A sad Tavo recalled the pain she felt when her father passed away. She counts her fellow peers whose dads are still alive fortunate and blessed to have that special relationship she would give anything to feel again with her “precious jewel.”
“God broke my heart to prove to me that he only takes the best. “If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I would walk right up to heaven to bring you home again”,” she said quoting from a poem.
Make the most of the time with your father because you never know whether you will see them tomorrow, she pleads with “the lucky children.”
“Some children are fortunate to be able to celebrate father’s day with their dads but it is not the same for us,” said Tavo.
“My father meant the world to me so his passing was tough for me to bear. But growing up with a future to live for I know he would not want me to be spending my time grieving, so I had to be strong and move on with life.
“Cherish those moments with your dads because God’s calling can come anytime and you might not see them again tomorrow.
“My dad had done his part in teaching me to be confident, independent, and hardworking and mine is to make uphold and put into practice his teachings.
“What was even more painful to bear was that he left us on the very day that we celebrate their lives. His memories lives on."
Father's Day is a celebration honouring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.
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