IO – Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto has awarded the Patriot Bela Negara (“National Defense Patriot”) medal and certificate awards to 11,485 former East Timor freedom fighters today, Wednesday (16/12/2020). The symbolic award, presented to commemorate the National Defense Day on 18 December, was given by the Minister to 23 of these fighters, including Eurico Guterres. The Minister was accompanied by his Deputy, Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, when he presented the award in a ceremony held in Bhinneka Tunggal Ika Field, Ministry of Defense’s Office.
Minister Prabowo went on to explain that the ceremony and award are to express the State’s commitment to appreciate and pay attention to all of its citizens who have earned merit in the effort to maintain the integrity and sovereignty of NKRI over its territory. The Minister himself has a military track record in the East Timor region. He was the commander of the Group I/Para-command Platoon, one of Nanggala Team’s Operational Troops. The Team was part of the Seroja Operation, a military incursion by Indonesia to East Timor in 1975.
The award is granted based on the Minister of Defense’s Decree concerning the Awarding of the Patriot Bela Negara Award. He hopes that the award will generate momentum for renewed national defense spirit among all components of the nation. “With this award, I express my hope that former East Timor fighters can pass on the values of nationalism, patriotism, and Pancasila to the next generation,” Prabowo said in his press statement (16/12/2020).
Minister Prabowo further stated that these former East Timor fighters are Indonesian citizens who fought to maintain East Timor as part of NKRI, and who have shown their loyalty by choosing to stay in Indonesia. “Our State and nation must never forget the sacrifices and merits of these East Timor former fighters and their families,” he said.
This year, the Minister repeated his message from last year’s celebration of National Defense Day by reminding everyone to repel any effort to divide the nation, to protect our unity instead. He further reminds all of the sons and daughters of the nation to be involved in National Defense by continuing to optimize their work according to their individual professions, to work to the utmost for the sake of themselves, their families, and their nation. All efforts to divide the people and generate hatred towards each other, especially due to differences in political stance, must be resisted. (Dan)