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Honouring Sacrifice and Service on Remembrance Day

Part of the Remembrance Day crowd at the Bourke Cenotaph

Remembrance Day, the 11th of November marking the end of World War I, holds a special place in the hearts of Australians and New Zealanders.

It provides an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who served in defence of our nation.

It is a day deeply embedded in the hearts of the people of outback NSW. In our remote regions, the significance of this day takes on a unique perspective as it honours those who served in our defence including the brave men and women who from our outback communities who also served.

Victor Bartley, Bourke Shire councillor, RSL president, and a Vietnam War veteran, is a living example of the outback’s contribution to the country’s defence forces.

Victor’s commitment underlines the legacy of service in our communities. For us, Remembrance Day carries a distinct weight, as it is a day to remember our own, those who left the outback to serve and protect our nation.

“To me, Remembrance Day is arguably one of the two most important days on the RSL calendars,” Victor said.

On this day, Australians from all walks of life come together in towns, villages, and cities to attend services, just like the one in Bourke Central Park on Saturday, showing their gratitude to those who served and those who paid the ultimate price for their countries.

As Victor reminds us, “many are still paying an awful price today for doing so.”

Sheila Lowe whose husband Keith served in WWII, expresses the sentiment shared by many: “Remembrance Day means a lot - they fought for us, to give us the best life possible.”

“The day carries a deep sense of respect for the past and a commitment to ensure that their sacrifices were not in vain,” Sheila said.

Bob and Melba Stutsel acknowledge the small sacrifices made by community members on Saturday, coming out in the hot weather, while emphasising that this pales in comparison to what our service men and women have endured.

Melba highlights the emotional impact – “The ceremony brings a tear to your eye. Some people may not have come out today because of the heat, but it is a small sacrifice compared to what they did for us.”

“We are a free country today because they gave their lives for us.” Bob reminds us. “Many families have loved ones who served and have paid the ultimate price and the significance of days like this in stopping to remember that.”

It’s a day that carries personal significance for many, like Daniel Lowe from the Rural Fire Service.

“Both my grandfathers served in the forces plus other family who are still actively serving,” he says. […]

Read more and see lots of photos in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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