Right in the middle of on of the most busiest street in Bogor City, there is a statue stand in front of one of very old cultural heritages of Bogor , PETA Museum. It may not raise an artistic feeling inside you. However, for Indonesian, the statue means a lot.
The statue replicate a figure from the past of Indonesia. A person, a male with a “blangkon” , a traditional Javanese cap, with a stick on his right hand seeing straight to the street that is named after his name, General Sudirman.
Sudirman, or Soedirman was a leader of Indonesia Armed Forces back to the era where Indonesia was still occupied by foreign countries, Dutch and Japanese. He led Indonesian soldiers and freedom fighters in guerilla war against an effort of Dutch colonialist to re-occupy the archipelago after the defeat of Japanese troops in World War II or Pacific War.
Astonishingly, he commanded his people under his sick condition. General Sudirman was suffering Tuberculosis when he was appointed as Indonesia Armed Force. However, the sickness didn’t prevent him from joining his troop to conduct guerilla war against well equipped Dutch troops.
He died in 1949, one month after the recognition of Indonesia Independence at the age of 34.
The place where the statue stands is the place where he was once trained as a soldier after leaving his original work, a teacher.
PETA (Pembela Tanah Air – The Defender of Nation) was the name of an institution set up by Japanese troop to train Indonesian youth as soldiers to help them against western troops in World War II. Young Sudirman joined PETA in 1943 in Bogor and the place was the one currently used as PETA Museum.
It is just a modest statue indeed. But, the meaning of the statue is much more than just an accessories for the city. It should always remind younger generations about the freedom spirit and how independece of Indonesia was paid by sacrifice of many lifes.