Remembrance Day acknowledges the sacrifices of those who serve

LEST WE FORGET: The poppy is a significant symbol of Remembrance Day representing the immeasurable sacrifice made by those who died in World War I and later conflicts. Photo: Shutterstock
LEST WE FORGET: The poppy is a significant symbol of Remembrance Day representing the immeasurable sacrifice made by those who died in World War I and later conflicts. Photo: Shutterstock

Remembrance Day falls on the 11th of November each year and originally marked the end of World War I.

On that day back in 1918, the guns on the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare with Germany and the Axis nations.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years and was universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war and acknowledged with a minute's silence.

Today, on Remembrance Day, Australians pay tribute to the men and women who have served and are still serving in our defence forces and remember those who have died or suffered in conflicts, wars and peacekeeping operations.

Normally dawn services and marches are held throughout Australia, attended by members and ex-members of the armed forces and the community.

Unfortunately, COVID has limited events in recent years, but ceremonies will still be held in 2021 following local health orders.

Peter Green, City of Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch vice president, reflected on the importance of Remembrance Day last year when addressing the COVID-restricted ceremony in Newcastle.

We get to live in a country where you can say, 'I get to...', because of the sacrifices of those who have served.

Peter Green, City of Newcastle RSL sub-branch vice president

He asked those attending to consider what they "get to" do because of the fallen.

"On countless mornings, I get to wake up before the dawn and see beautiful sunrises," he said.

"As a soldier, I've seen thousands of sunrises. Across oceans and deserts, in jungles and across hazy city skies.

"I get to have a say in who leads our country, and I get to attend services such as today in this beautiful setting where I get to remember.

"You, too, have freedom. Freedom that has been paid for by others.

"We get to live in a country where you can say, 'I get to...', because of the sacrifices of those who have served.

"And especially those who never got to return home and enjoy their own freedom.

"They truly gave their tomorrow so we may have their today. This is what freedom through sacrifice means to me. This is what remembrance means to me."

Boston Larke, a former Army captain with over a decade of service, said Remembrance Day holds a special place in the hearts of those in the armed forces.

"Whether it's Anzac Day or Remembrance Day, I think it's important as an ex-serving member you never forget," he said.

"I know mates that I've lost overseas and those that went before us. I don't think in this country, fortunately, we're in too much danger of people forgetting anytime soon, but it's always nice to spend time and show you remember."

Regardless of COVID restrictions, Australians can still pay tribute on Remembrance Day this year by observing one minute's silence at 11am on November 11.

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