Yogyakarta – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the Great General Soeharto Memorial at Soeharto's birthplace in Kemusuk village, Sleman, Yogyakarta, in Central Java on Friday.
The president and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono arrived at the memorial at 2:15 p.m., accompanied by members of the president's Cabinet, and received a welcome from Soeharto's half-brother Probosutedjo and Soeharto's daughter Siti Hediati Hariyadi.
President Yudhoyono and his entourage spent about an hour on site and ended the visit by signing a photo of the former president standing against a red and white background, representing the colors of the national flag.
"(We offer) our respect on behalf of the people of Indonesia to Bapak (Mr) Soeharto, the independence fighter and development leader. Thank you, sir," President Yudhoyono wrote on the photo he signed.
Among the Cabinet ministers accompanying the president were coordinating minister for political, security and legal affairs Djoko Suyanto, minister/state secretary Sudi Silalahi, minister of tourism and creative economy Mari Elka Pangestu, and forestry minister Zulkifli Hassan. Yogyakarta governor Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X was also at hand.
The Soeharto Memorial was built on a 3,620 square meter plot of land and comprises a "pendopo" (pavilion), the house of Notosudiro (Soeharto's great grandfather), the house of Atmosudiro (Soeharto's great-grandfather), a 63 square meter area marking the place where the late former president was born, a museum, and other buildings of interest.
At the entrance, visitors are welcomed by a statue of General Soeharto, standing over two meters high, covered in decorations, and holding a command stick.
The museum at the center of the Memorial Complex contains collections of pictures as well as a diorama depicting Soeharto's life as he became an increasingly important figure within and outside the country.
Some of the documents displayed inside the museum include the March 11 Order (Supersemar) signed by President Soekarno, letters from 14 national figures who declined to join Soeharto's latest Cabinet at the end of his leadership term, and the statement Soeharto read out in announcing his resignation in 1998.
The video at the exit gate, meanwhile, depicts Soeharto's burial on Jan. 27, 2008, at a funeral led by President Yudhoyono.