Thursday, November 12, 2009

VC Winner Descendant - The way of a hero

The way of a hero - Thursday, November 12, 2009

HE may have been the tiniest figure in the crowd but seven-year-old Kolinio Bavatu Vulakoro stood proud and erect to salute the memory of a man many in Fiji have come to know as a hero - Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu.

For Kolinio, it was a heartfelt gesture to honour his great-grandfather's sacrifice at yesterday's Remembrance Day celebrations in Suva.

Kolinio's dream is to help bring peace, just like his great-grandfather did.

"I want to join the army when I grow up and help countries like my great-grandfather and my father," Kolinio said.

He stood firm by Corporal Sukanaivalu's plaque, shooting a courageous smile to his mother Olivia Vulakoro and elder brother Sairusi Tukuwasa Vulakoro, 14.

Mrs Vulakoro said the brothers had been looking forward to Remembrance Day for the past month.

Kolinio is related to Corporal Sukanaivalu through his paternal grandfather, Taniela Masi Vulakoro, who was the son of the war hero.

Mrs Vulakoro said the brothers enjoy listening to the war stories of their great-grandfather.

She said the boys knew the details of Cpl Sukanaivalu's sacrifice for fellow soldiers on Bougainville in 1944.

"His team was heavily attacked by Japanese soldiers. He had managed to bring some of his men to safety and had gone back to rescue the others. But on the way, he was shot," older brother Sairusi said.

"His men tried to help him but the firing was too strong. My great grandfather didn't want his soldiers to die trying to save him. He knew the men would keep trying to save him if he remained alive so he stood up - he was shot from head to toe.

"I'm proud of him and what he did for his men. I hope Kolinio and I have his courage because we also want to join the military and help bring peace to countries."

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