Broome residents paused to reflect and commemorate the 80th and 81st anniversary of the Japanese air raids on the town in World War II on March 3, a year after the oak anniversary celebrations were cancelled due to COVID-19. With the amount of community support behind the ceremony, Shire of Broome President Harold Tracey said ensuring last year’s milestone was still celebrated, albeit late, was incredibly important for the town. “We understand how disappointing it was for the community last year when the tough decision was made to postpone the event,” he said. “March 3 marks tragedy for Broome, although it is also a story of inspiration for those that helped the victims of this brutal attack and those victims that survived and lived to share the tale.” On March 3 1942 at 9:30am a secret unit of Japanese Air Force fighters descended on Broome, destroying every aircraft in the area and killing 88 people. At the time Broome had been established as a forward operating base for allied aircraft conducting missions over modern-day Indonesia, or the Dutch East Indies, as it was known at the time. The attack lasted only an hour but the destruction and tales of heroism from that day continue to live on despite the passage of time. The carnage caused by the Japanese can still be seen at low tide when the husks of the destroyed Catalina flying boats emerge from Roebuck Bay’s pristine blue waters. Community organisations including Broome Returned and Services League of Australia, St Mary’s College, Broome Primary School, Nyamba Buru Yawuru and the Broome Historical Society all participated in the events, laying wreaths and performing commemorative songs and dances. The community was joined by Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson, Senator Patrick Dodson and Federal MP Melissa Price who laid wreaths in honour of those lost in the attack. The events included “A Night of Reflection” at Sun Pictures on March 2, followed by an Air Raid Artwork Tour, the official commemoration event at the Broome War Memorial and the Broome RSL Morning Tea on March 3.