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SINGAPORE (AP) — It was 75 years ago that Singapore, the island at the tip of the Malay Peninsula that had been a key strategic outpost of Britain’s colonial empire, fell to invading Japanese troops. The events live on in history books more than in memories. But for Margaret Menz, who lost her brother there, the passage of years has not dulled the pain.

Menz was among hundreds of people who attended a commemoration ceremony Wednesday at Singapore’s Kranji War Cemetery, which holds more than 4,400 white gravestones of soldiers from countries such as Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

World War II veterans, their family members and officials said prayers, observed a period of silence and laid wreaths in memory of lives lost.