February 3, 2019 at 7.00 a.m. – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kriengkrai Kitjaroen, Vice President for Arts, Cultures, and Relation joined the Thai Veteran Day to pay respect towards the veterans who sacrificed their lives to protect the country. Major General Somchai Kanpachai, Commander of the 23rd Military Circle presided over the ceremony. Governor Dr. Somsak Jungtrakoon also joined.
The Thai Veteran Day is on February 3rd of every year. The day was established after the end of World War II, when many Thai soldiers became unemployed and there was a call for assistance for these veterans.
In 1947, Ministry of the Interior, with responsibilities over such work, thus established a unit to assist the soldiers who returned from war fields and the families of those who died in war. Later, the Ministry proposed an Act of Establishing a Veteran Assistance Organization and was approved by the Government. The Act was announced in the Royal Gazette on February 3, 1948. February 3 has been the Veteran Day since then.
In 1967, the Veteran Assistance Organization was changed into the Government’s charity organization and became a juristic body receiving time-to-time monetary support from with Ministry of the Interior and the government.
The main missions of the Veteran Organization are assistance and supports for soldiers undergoing war and their families, classified into 6 types of assistance:
1. Welfare – including general assistance for accommodation, education and artificial organs
2. Occupation – by providing occupational training and assistance in terms of employment both in the country and abroad
3. Agricultural settlement – by allocating subsistent land for farming and assistance in terms of academic and tools
4. Funds – providing funds for members of the Veteran Organization to borrow for their occupation
5. Health care – providing health care for members of the Veteran Organization for free
6. Veterans’ rights promotion – requesting special rights for veterans such as commissions for transportation fares, etc.
Red poppy is the symbol of veterans who guarded the country and the country’s sovereignty. The red color shows the brave soldiers’ blood and their utmost sacrifice.
Making poppies to sell on the Veteran Day was initiated by Than Phuying Jongkon Kitikhajorn, President of Veteran Family Assisting Club or the present Veteran Family Assisting Foundation in order to mobilize funds to assist the soldiers and their families for they had protected the country. Red poppy was selected because the flower has an account related to Flandeurs war field, Belgium war field, and the Netherlands war field and the war between the Allies and German in WW I. A lot of the Allies soldiers were injured and died in these fields. General Earl of Hague, the commander then saw a surprising phenomenon at the soldiers’ tombs and wild poppies grew there showing their red colors. Since then, red poppy has been the symbol of the bravery of the veterans who sacrificed themselves for the country.
Therefore, to commemorate the bravery and good deeds of the soldiers the red poppy has also been used as the symbol in Thailand. Red poppies are sold before the Veteran Day every year starting in 1968.
It is a good chance for us to think about the veteran and help them and their families by buying poppies in remembrance of the bravery, the goodness and sacrifice of the veterans.
News/Photos: Boriphat Thasi