About 100 people converged on Bendigo’s war memorial on Saturday morning to honour the memory of fallen police servicemen and women.
Sergeant Margaret Singe welcomed guests, who included current and former police members, their family and friends and local councillors.
Bendigo police chaplain the Reverend Ian Cutlack led the National Police Remembrance Day service, which this year incorporated Blue Ribbon Day.
He told the crowd remembrance day was a time to recognise the sacrifices of those who had served their communities, offering a gentle reminder that happiness often came with a price.
Wreath bearers were joined by officers and their families who lined up to place a single flower on the memorial.
Blue Ribbon Foundation committee member Senior Sergeant Craig Gaffee said the day’s observance was important to both the police community and general public alike, as it provided many the opportunity to reflect and pay their respects.
Senior Sergeant Gaffee said eight Victorian police officers died between September 29, 2011, and
September 1, 2012, two of whom worked at the Bendigo station.
“It’s easy to get caught up in our busy day-to-day lives,” he said.
“Sometimes we need to be pushed to take five.”
Senior Sergeant Gaffee said the day was their way of keeping the memory of fallen colleagues and friends alive. Saturday’s service marked the first time it had been held at the war memorial, with the previous services being held at Bendigo Town Hall.
With Police Remembrance Day this year falling on the same day as the AFL grand final, many services held across Australia were brought forward to earlier in the week.
Despite the clash, Senior Sergeant Gaffee said attendance at services continued to grow each year.
“Given it was grand final day we were conscious we wouldn’t have the same reception this year but sticking to September 29 ensures that we continue to build the tradition of remembrance day in Bendigo,” he said.
Richmond police’s Senior Sergeant Craig Pearson travels to Bendigo each year for the event to represent Police Legacy, which provides support and services to people in the police family who have lost a loved one.
He said he felt a close connection to the city and the journey had become something of a tradition for him.
“My mother was born in Bendigo and I come to Bendigo regularly to visit friends,” he said. Senior Sergeant Pearson said he was thrilled to see a number of young people at the commemorations, who are often the recipients of financial support through Police Legacy grants.
“It’s great that we are able to maintain that connection with the police family, even when their serving family member has passed away,” he said.