On Sunday, it will have been 100 years since the guns fell silent on the battlefields of the First World War.
The centenary of the Armistice is a time to pause and reflect.
It had the moniker of “the war to end all wars” but, unfortunately, it wasn’t. Just 21 years later the world was plunged in the death and destruction of the Second World War.
Through the years since there have been other conflicts - Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. Our military have risen to the challenges of helping to protect life and liberty wherever it may be under threat from tyranny and oppression.
For if that is not stopped in its tracks, where to next? We owe our safety and freedoms to those who fought, and to those who gave up their lives, families and futures for those freedoms. It is too easy to take that for granted.
There is a proud tradition of service to King/Queen and country that continues to this day. It is fitting that we support them. It is also fitting to pause and remember them on Sunday. Among them will be the descendents of Bendigo’s original Anzacs, including the family of George Brown Fullerton, one of many who never returned home from the carnage in Europe. At 5pm they will help to place the final crosses in Bendigo’s Field of Remembrance.
As a child I remember proudly marching on Anzac Day. I did not, then, know of a family connection to the horrors of Kokoda. But as an adult I pause each Anzac Day and November 11 to remember the sacrifice of my grandmother’s brother. He, too, never came home and our family was never the same again.
There will be many others remembering on Sunday, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Some for those long passed, some for those still serving.
Crosses will be hammered into the ground, paper poppies will be made and planted. Bugles will sound. Lest we Forget.
A century on, the spirit of the Anzacs still burns strongly. May it long continue, in no danger of being extinguished.
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