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Remembrance Day’s memory-keepers

Member’s statement

November 18, 2021

Tania MAXWELL (Northern Victoria) (10:34):

A young lieutenant colonel at Wangaratta’s cenotaph on 11 November described Remembrance Day as Australia’s most significant war commemoration.

Scottie Morris, Army School of Ordnance commanding officer at Gaza Ridge Barracks near Wodonga, a former assistant attaché to the United Nations, told about 200 attendees of the Great War’s toll: Twenty million died. No corner of the European, North American or colonial world remained untouched by the years 1914 to 1918. And it endures.

As Lieutenant Colonel Morris observed, from the Armistice at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918, we became the memory-keepers of a collective experience. One hundred and three years later school students Patrick Timmers and Abbey Collins from Cathedral College in Wangaratta read In Flanders Fields, and many local schools and college representatives laid wreaths. Rural City of Wangaratta traffic marshals stopped vehicles in the street for the ‘Last Post’, one minute’s silence at 11 o’clock, and ‘Reveille’ played with such skill by trumpeter Ben Thomas.

Thank-you to the Wangaratta RSL and Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral dean Ken Goodger for hosting this observance. By gathering we reinforced a tradition that endures unceasingly, sharing, as Lieutenant Colonel Morris said, our common respect for service in conflict, for the toll it took on those who fell, and for those who were left behind to pick up the pieces.

Lest we forget.