AN estimated crowd of 300 people gathered on Saturday to pay their respects on the 99th anniversary of Remembrance Day.
Each year the ceremony on November 11 recognises the official end of WWI hostilities in 1918 and was marked in Orange by a wreath-laying ceremony and playing of The Last Post at the Robertson Park cenotaph.
According to RSL sub-branch senior vice-president Chris Colvin, Saturday’s solemn service was an opportunity many took to “commemorate all those who served”.
“Those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who returned with injuries, both physical and mental,” he said, adding there were already plans in place to make 2018’s centenary commemorations even more special.
VIDEO: Orange Anglican Grammar School student Laura Sharp delivers the address.
“Next year it will be a Sunday, we will try to do a different kind of service for 100 years.
“Plans are under way to make it a significant event. We would love to see more members and affiliate members to help pull the event off.”
Veteran James Sutherland served with the infantry in Afghanistan for eight months.
He said while he was disappointed with the turnout at Saturday’s service in Orange he would spend much of the day thinking about the men and women he served with.
“Days like this are about veterans coming together to talk about their experience, but also for the public to recognise and commemorate their service,” Mr Sutherland said.
One of the servicemen Mr Sutherland served with took his own life earlier this year, a loss of life far too common in the armed forces and one which the general public was all-too-often unaware of.
“More people have died from suicide than from war,” he said.
Navy veteran Tony White said the day wasn’t just for those who died in conflict but those who had suffered since returning home.
“We need to look after the people who have served and returned,” Mr White said.
VIDEO: Orange Anglican Grammar School student Jack Dixon reads We Shall Keep the Faith by Monia Michael.
Fellow Navy veteran Barry Collins agreed, saying readjusting to civilian life was more difficult than many civilians appreciated.
“On an aircraft carrier, you’re in close quarters with 1000 men or more,” he said.
Mr Colvin said there wasn’t enough mentioned of the women who served in the Australian Army Nursing Service.
“The things they saw would have been just as bad as what the soldiers saw on the front line,” he said.
VIDEO: The Last Post is sounded at Robertson Park for Remembrance Day.