Remembrance Day 2017 service at Eaglehawk war memorial | Photos

Saluters young and old gathered on the lush lawn of the Eaglehawk war memorial for a Remembrance Day service. 

Only the squawking of birds overhead could be heard during the minute silence that followed The Ode and the Last Post bugle call. 

Master of ceremonies and Vietnam War Paul Penno began the respectful service, giving those present a detailed history of the meaning behind Remembrance Day, formerly known as Armistice Day. 

“Why is this day so special to Australia? It was the day the guns of the Western Front fell quiet,” he said. 

Of the estimated nine -13 million dead soldiers, a third of them had no known grave, Mr Penno said.

Around 360,000 Australians went overseas to support the allied forces – 60,000 of which never returned home, he said.

“Children ask me why was it known as the Great War. It’s because it was so enormous, so huge and devastating, it just ripped families and countries apart,” he said.

“As well as remembering our dead and survivors, we think about those that are currently serving in terrible places.

“War, it seems, has become a part of our lives, it's sad to say.”

Local poet Geoffrey Graham, who had just returned home from Israel where he was part of commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the famous charge of the Australian Light Horse on Beersheba, performed the Lone Pine poem with gusto. 

Vietnam veteran Wayne Forbes recited The Ode before a number of wreaths were laid at the foot of the war memorial.

Mr Forbes said it wasn’t a day of celebration for himself, more quiet contemplation and respect for the sacrifices that had been made.

Fellow Vietnam veteran Graham Flanders was similarly reverent, suggesting: “There’s no winners in war, but we love to remember the actions of those individuals.”

“It’s a day where you reflect a bit on how lucky we are to be survivors of wars.

“We’re not glorifying war, we’re remembering what people have done, so they are not forgotten.”

The service, held in blistering heat on Saturday morning, was one of two to be held in Bendigo – the other was held at Bendigo District RSL Complex, due to renovations to the Soldiers Memorial Institute. 

Both services followed the placing of 40 crosses in the Queen Victoria Gardens on Friday. 

Descendants of Bendigo soldiers who served in World War I helped place the crosses, which serve as reminders of the sacrifices the region’s residents have made so future generations might prosper.