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Remembrance Day a time to pause and reflect

Bourke RSL President Victor Bartley addressing the gathering at the Remembrance Day service commemorating Indigenous defence personnel during NAIDOC Week in July. Photo TWH

Tricia Duffield

President of the Bourke RSL Victor Bartley is encouraging the community to continue supporting the tradition of Remembrance Day in honour of the Australians who served in conflict. In particular, he said the service on Friday November 11, was an occasion to remember the young men from the Bourke Shire who farewelled their hometown and left to fight in wars far from familiar shores.

“The most important aspect of Remembrance Day is to reflect on the Australians and New Zealanders who fought together in wars, in particular at Gallipoli,” Mr Bartley said.

“Our countries suffered horrendous losses of life on all sides of that conflict, for just a little bit of beach and Remembrance Day is when we can think about the blood spilled and the lives lost.

“That battle began on April 25 until December 20, 1915, and the mateship, honour, courage and heroics of the Australians and New Zealanders is where the legend of the Anzacs began and to this day is important to our countries.

“I believe it is so important to our history that it should be taught in schools because we can’t afford to lose our history, and that’s why Remembrance Day is so important on the RSL calendar and across our communities.

“In the Bourke Shire we will never really know how many young people - indigenous and non-indigenous - went overseas to serve, lost their lives and were buried in foreign countries.

“I don’t know if I would have the courage to do what they did, even though I served in Vietnam. They were the heroes of Australia and that’s why, at 11 o’clock, on the 11th day of the 11th month, we have ceremonies to remember those who served because they wanted to do something for their country.

“It is even more important now to keep those memories alive and those who have served in more recent conflicts are carrying on the traditions that began right back in the Boer war.

“Remembrance Day is as important as Anzac Day, because it marks when the guns fell silent after the First World War and I would ask everyone to pause for a moment at 11am and reflect on the sacrifices in war that have been made for us,” Mr Bartley said.

Anyone who would like to lay a wreath or floral tribute at the service should be at the Cenotaph in Central Park no later than 10.45. The service begins shortly before 11am, when a minute’s silence will be observed and the service will be broadcasted live on 2WEB.


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