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Wife Remembers Fateful Knock On Door

Wife Remembers Fateful Knock On Door
Apisai Rokoduna, Amelia Rokoduna, Kinijoji Sovakiwai (grandson) and Merewalesi Tokailagi at Subrail Park in Labasa on June 13, 2018. Photo: Nacanieli Tuilevuka
June 14
10:00 2018


For military wives a knock on the front door while their spouses are serving overseas on peacekeeping missions is one thing they dread and fear the most.

This is because the person is almost cer­tainly the bearer of bad news, whether it may be a death or accident.

This was exactly what 55-year-old Amelia Rokoduna experienced on April 19, 1999, at Tuatua Housing in Labasa.

The knock on the door coupled with the military officer standing on her doorway confirmed her worst fears. She remem­bers the day just like it was yesterday and never forgets the heartbreak of losing her husband, Private Josaia Rokoduna, after a short illness while on deployment with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

“I was living in our new house at Tuatua, the house he bought before he went to serve for six months in Lebanon,” Mrs Rokoduna said.

“I heard a knock in front of our door. It was in the afternoon and for us, Army wives, it’s the sound we dread the most.

“I knew who it was and what it was and what it meant before I opened the door. I was breastfeeding our youngest son when I heard the knock on the door.

“I sat on the edge of the bed, prayed first before I opened the door.

“The officer told me the news, I could not hold myself back, I sat in front of the door and cried my heart out,” she said.

Mrs Rokoduna said her husband was a ded­icated solider who died doing what he loved, which was serving his country.

Yesterday, Mrs Rokoduna could not hold back her tears as she laid a wreath at a plaque at Subrail Park in Labasa to com­memorate those solders who lost their lives in the service of their country.

A moment of silence was observed yester­day morning during celebrations to mark 40 years of Fiji’s peacekeeping service under the United Nations.

The day began with the march from Y Cor­ner through Labasa’s main street to Subrail Park. Members of the military, diplomatic corps, families and the public came togeth­er with flowers and poppies and wreaths were laid to pay tribute to loved ones lost in the line of duty.

Also present was the former President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou. Ratu Epeli commanded the first Battalion to serve in Lebanon.

Mrs Rokoduna said a lot of had changed since her husband’s untimely death.

“Life has not really been the same ever since he left us,” she said.

“I thank the Lord for his provisions, guid­ance and for supplying my needs and also those of my children. We have four children.

“He died on the month of April. Today is a special day as we remember our loved ones and it brings back a lot of wonderful fond memories. We will always remember him.

“I am happy to be here and to remember my husband. I applied for leave today in or­der to be part of this service and every year I ensure that I be part of the celebration.”

Edited by Epineri Vula



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