Bendigo pays its respects

THE Remembrance Day tradition lived on in Bendigo, with about 500 people participating in the commemorative service at Pall Mall yesterday.

Bendigo District RSL sub-branch president Cliff Richards said it was pleasing to see so many young people mark the occasion.

“It was magnificent,” he said.

“I’ll be extremely honest and say around about 10am it didn’t feel like a Remembrance Day to us because there weren’t too many people around.

“Then I guess a few volunteers started to turn up and things were put in place and a huge crowd came along. There was great participation from the community.”

The RSL Soldiers’ Memorial Hall forecourt fell silent as Reverend Padre Tom Williams read the Prayer of Remembrance, keeping their heads bowed as Cadet Sergeant Shannon Golec recited In Flanders Fields.

Various community groups and members of the public were invited to lay wreaths and Mr Richards read The Ode before Eve Godber sang the national anthem.

Mr Richards thanked everyone for their participation and encouraged people to not only think about the fallen but, instead, the total cost of war and conflict.

“It is about the effect it has on the lives of those left behind – the family and friends,” he said.

“It is about the effect that war and conflict has had on the many that have suffered and still suffer from the result of their service.

“In addition to the loss of life, we need to be mindful that society pays a price for war and both as individuals. And, collectively as a nation we should take the opportunity given to us by the 103,000 silent warriors from the past and embrace their legacy of peace throughout the world as our ultimate goal.”

Mr Richards said Remembrance Day was an opportunity to remember “solemnly and with gratitude” the men and women of the Australian Defence Forces who gave their lives for us.

“We remember those who fought an suffered in the First World War and we remember in particular the thinning ranks of those who fought in the Second World War,” he said.

“We remember the wars and conflicts that followed and we feel the realness of the sacrifices given by our Defence Forces now in Afghanistan... I sincerely hope that one day we can build an everlasting peace so inspired by our silent heroes.”

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