On Friday evening as the nation was preparing for the first day of Ramadan a national tragedy unfolded on Facebook timelines and twitter feeds, whatsapp chats and texts. The tragedy was a Royal Brunei Armed Forces Bell 212 helicopter that crashed in the rural district of Kuala Belait that evening.
14 army cadets and officers were reported to be involved, and throughout the evening we read of those that have passed, those found and those unaccounted for. As I sit here writing this article on a somber Saturday morning, the crash had taken the lives of 12 cadets and left only two survivors.
An army career, with its prerequisite training is not for the faint hearted. I believe that the young men and women of the Brunei Army who were passengers of that fateful flight would have been prepared for any eventuality as par for the course in their line of work. This is why you join the army. The tragedy is not just the loss of so many young men and women but that this had occurred in peacetime during what appears to have been a routine training sortie.
It is will perhaps give Ramadan a greater poignancy this year, while Ramadan is a time of reflection, prayer and thanksgiving, we may also wish to think about the loss and sacrifices that have been suffered by others in the service of our nation.
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