Thai Peace Day
Thai Peace Day, or Wan Santiphap Thai, was first established in 1995 to commemorate the end of hostilities in World War II — 50 years after the end of the war itself. The day carries special meaning for the families descended from the underground resistance movement as well as from the many other casualties of WWII
The Free Thai Movement
On August 8th, 1941, Thailand was invaded by the Empire of Japan and pressured into declaring war on the United States and Great Britain.
However, then Thai ambassador to the United States Seni Pramoj refused to do so. Instead, with U.S. support, he organized a large-scale resistance movement which came to be known as the Free Thai (Seri Thai) Movement. This guerrilla movement bravely fought Japanese troops until the end of the war to liberate the Thai people.
Fifty years after the end of the war in 1945, the Council of Ministers of Thailand officially established Thai Peace Day. The date itself, August 16th, marks one day after the announcement of Japan’s surrender.
Peter Haymond, speaking as Chargé D’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok at an August 16th, 2019 ceremony to commemorate Thai Peace Day, said, “The Seri Thai story is one of incredible heroism, but it is also a powerful reminder of the strong bonds of friendship, as well as the deep-seated interest in freedom that Americans and Thais share.”
Since its declaration in 1995, Thai Peace Day has become a significant diplomatic event commemorated by Thailand’s government as well as the historians of Thailand’s academic institutions.
Notably, Thammasat University hosted an event in 2018 to honor Thai Peace Day, which was attended by the Privy Council, diplomatic representatives, and the surviving relatives of Seri Thai fighters.
Memorial ceremonies are hosted throughout the nation, often attended by government officials, parliamentarians, and diplomats, especially of Allied countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
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