The country paid tribute to its national heroes during National Heroes Day on Sunday, held in observance of the Battle of Surabaya on Nov. 10, 1945.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono led a ceremony at the Kalibata National Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta on Sunday morning.
After observing a moment of silence for fallen national heroes, the President laid a wreath carrying a tribute written on a ribbon at the Heroes Monument.
The ceremony wrapped up with Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono scattering flowers on the graves of former vice president Adam Malik and those of Indonesian Military (TNI) generals — Sutojo Siswomihardjo, Suwondo Parman, MT Haryono, Suprato and Ahmad Yani — who were murdered during the alleged 1965 coup attempt blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
Earlier on Friday, Yudhoyono bestowed the title of national hero on three departed revolutionary figures for their contributions to the country before and after the 1945 independence.
The new national heroes are head of the Preparatory Body for Indonesian Independence (BPUPKI) Radjiman Wediodiningrat, diplomat Lambertus Nicodemus Palar and respected military general Tahi Bonar Simatupang.
The conferring of the honor was done in accordance with a system regulated in Law No. 20/2009. Under the law, the names will later be submitted to the provincial government and later to the Social Affairs Ministry.
Also on Sunday, Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al Jufri launched the website pahlawancenter.com, an online database of the country’s national heroes.
“This website will contain brief biographical information on their early life, how they met their end and where they are buried,” Salim said as quoted by Antara news agency.
Salim said that the website would first rely on basic information provided by the Kalibata National Heroes Cemetery.
“Public can easily access this information and we will continue to update the website,” Salim said.
The website now stores the information of 38,578 individuals already recognized by the government as heroes and will continue to take in data from other heroes cemeteries across the country.
As part of programs to commemorate National Heroes Day, locals in Gorontalo staged an underwater reenactment of fighting from the country’s independence war against the Dutch.
For the event, 18 divers entered the waters of Bone Bolango regency to hold a 25-minute reenactment of a battle between the Dutch troops and the local resistance movement.
The performance was also to raise awareness for the untapped potential of marine resources in the area.
For politicians looking ahead to next years elections, National Heroes Day was a campaign opportunity not to be missed.
Chairman of the NasDem Party Surya Paloh led the commemoration on Sunday at the birthplace of the country’s first president, Sukarno.
Joining Surya in the ceremony was one of Sukarno’s daughters, Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, who is also a member of the party’s advisory board.
In his speech, Surya said that the country would not be fully independent until it could stand on an equal footing with other nations in the world.
Yudhoyono’s son and secretary general of the Democratic Party Eddhie Baskoro “Ibas” Yudhoyono said that patriotism should be instilled in the country’s youth.
“We should keep patriotism alive, don’t allow progress to make it go away,” he said. JP