Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, in the company of Deputy Defense Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, symbolically conferred the awards to 23 representatives of former East Timor fighters, including Eurico Guterres, in the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika square in the Defense Ministry compound here on Tuesday.
The awards are a manifestation of the Indonesian government's commitment to pay attention to the country's citizens who have sacrificed for the nation and state, Subianto said.
He expressed the hope the awards would help boost the spirit of all components of the nation to defend the state.
In view of the former East Timor fighters' services and sacrifice, the Defense Ministry decided it was necessary to present the awards to them, he said.
"By presenting awards to the former East Timor fighters, (it is hoped) they can continue (to impart) national values and patriotism as well as Pancasila values to younger generations," he said.
The awards conferred on the former East Timor fighters demonstrate the state’s appreciation of the Indonesian citizens who have contributed to upholding state sovereignty and keeping state territory intact, he added.
The former East Timor fighters are Indonesian citizens who fought to defend East Timor as part of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia and opted to live in Indonesia following the UN-sponsored referendum leading to East Timor's breaking away from Indonesia.
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