LCA Australian Defence Forces Chaplain Mark Kleemann took part in the US Memorial Day commemorations in Perth recently, held to honour the memories of those who died serving their country’s armed forces.
Pastor Mark, who is based at the RAAF Base Pearce north of the Western Australian capital, led opening and closing prayers for those gathered at Perth’s Kings Park, to mark what is a national holiday in the US.
Keynote speaker Captain Michael Donnelly likened US Memorial Day to Anzac Day for Australians and New Zealanders. ‘It is a day to remember and honour those who gave the full last measure of devotion in the service of their nation’, Captain Donnelly said.
He also shared the story of the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, during which US and Australian ships and aircraft repelled the potential invasion of Australia and neighbouring countries. Aircraft carrier the USS Lexington was sunk by Japanese forces and lost 216 personnel. It was only relocated in March this year in the Coral Sea, approximately 800 kilometres east of Australia.
The Governor of Western Australia, Mr Kim Beazley, and the US Consul in Perth, Mr Craig Dennison, also participated in the day of remembrance with a wreath-laying ceremony, along with government officials, and community representatives. Among those who laid a wreath in memory of lives lost was retired WA Assistant Commissioner of Police Graeme Lienert, a member at St John’s Lutheran Church, Perth.