The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Navy conducted a ceremony on Wednesday, known as Dharma Samudera Day, to commemorate the Battle of Arafura Sea on board the KRI Banda Aceh 593 on the pier of the Military Naval Command (Kolinlamil) in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta.
The wreath-laying ceremony was held to commemorate national heroes who died during battles at sea, most notably Yos Soedarso, who commanded the flotilla aboard the KRI Macan Tutul, a legendary torpedo boat, was killed along with numerous crew members in a battle with Dutch warships on the Arafura Sea on Jan. 15, 1962.
Navy chief of staff Adm. Siwi Sukma Adji, who led the ceremony, said that the event was held to “echo the spirit of battle” that Yos Sudarso had called on as Indonesian forces faced a superior enemy fleet.
“The sacrifice of the heroes of the ocean ignited national sentiment to immediately bring back West Papua to the lap of Ibu Pertiwi [the motherland] on May 1, 1963,” Siwi said as quoted in a statement released by the Military Naval Command.
The ceremony, which also had military personnel scattering flower petals onto the sea, was carried out simultaneously by all Navy members serving in the KRI and the Kolinlamil base.
It was also attended by religious leaders from the six recognized religions in Indonesia, namely Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism, who recited prayers during the petal-sowing ceremony.
Retired high-ranking officers of the Navy, as well as family members of the heroes who died in the Battle of Arafura Sea, were also present in the ceremony.
During the ceremony, Siwi gave tali asih (award dues) to the heirs of the heroes of the battle in what he called a reflection of respect to the next generation of Navy fighters who were willing to make sacrifices for the glory of the Indonesian people. (syk)