Sunday, November 11 is a very special day. It’s the centenary of the day that World War I ended – a war that claimed the lives of an unbelievable 15 million to 20 million people.
This Sunday, November 11 deserves extra special recognition. One hundred years ago, locals spontaneously and joyously celebrated the return of peace.
They prayed that the conflict that had just ended would be ‘the war to end all wars’ and the lives of the 61,700 Australians who had died (including 200 from the NSW South Coast) would not have been needlessly lost.
A year later King George V asked Australians to simply pause for two minutes at 11am on every November 11 – for one minute to honour those who fought and were killed in the War, and for one minute to honour the wives, the children, the families in Australia that had been equally deeply affected by the conflict.
He specifically asked that "all locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance" of the suffering that this war had caused.
It would be appropriate for all locals to again pause at 11am this Sunday, November 11, to honour all Australians who have fought for our country, to remember the impact that their service has had on those left at home, and to reflect on the immense benefits that peace has brought to our country and this area.
Remembrance Day gatherings are being held all along the South Coast. I urge everyone who can possibly attend their local event to do so.
I also urge those who are unable to attend to at least recognise this important 100th anniversary of the World War I Armistice by simply pausing for a minute or two at 11am, and to join our community in again observing this significant 100-year-old tradition of reflective silence.
Peter Lacey, South Coast History Society
Lest we forget
One hundred years ago, on November 11, 1918, the Armistice that ended the fighting during the First World War was signed with Germany.
After more than four years of brutal fighting in the most destructive war the modern world had seen, the guns fell silent, and people around the world rejoiced.
But it came at a great cost, and for Australia, of the some 416,000 who enlisted for service more than 60,000 died — the effects of which were felt in every community, large and small, around the country.
In the years that followed the war, November 11 was known as Armistice Day and two minutes of solemn silence was observed at 11am.
Today, November 11 is known as Remembrance Day, and it stands as the day we remember the men and women who have suffered and died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations over a century of service.
This Remembrance Day, I urge all Australians in communities across the nation to wear a red Flanders Poppy and to stop for a minute’s silence to remember these brave men and women.
We should also remember those who returned home carrying with them the scars of their service, and the family members who cared for them. And we thank those currently serving in the Australian Defence Force and on peacekeeping operations.
As a nation we should all show our gratitude for the sacrifice of those who have bravely served and died. For a century we have remembered them and we will ensure they are remembered still.
Darren Chester MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
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