‘One sits and ponders sadly of those many pals who are “gone to that home from which no wanderer returns.” … The very flower of our manhood have paid the greatest price, not willingly for not one of them but longed to live, return home and forget, yes just forget the horrors of the past … Please God … the sacrifices have not been in vain.’
Lance Corporal Roger Morgan, Second Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, 11 November 1918
At 11am this Thursday, November 11, Australians will once again fall silent to commemorate Remembrance Day, in honour of all those Australians who have suffered and died defending our nation, our values and our freedoms.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said Remembrance Day remained one of the most significant days of the year for Australians.
“We must never forget the courage, valour and sacrifice of all those men and women who have served this nation in war, conflicts and peacekeeping operations,” Minister Gee said.
“From those who fought on the Western Front more than hundred years ago to those still serving abroad today, we must continue to acknowledge their service and sacrifice.
“Remembrance Day can be a difficult time for many veterans and those families who lost loved ones, and this year will be particularly difficult for those who served in Afghanistan, and their families.
“We should use this day to also acknowledge the tireless work of all those individuals and organisations who support our veterans and their families. Many of them are veterans themselves and selflessly devote their time to helping others.”
This Remembrance Day marks the 103rd anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War. More than 300,000 Australians served overseas and over 60,000 lost their lives.
“Armistice Day, as it was first known, was a moment for our nation, as there was hardly a family in the country who had not been touched by tragedy,” Minister Gee said.
“The words of one of our diggers Lance Corporal Morgan (above), describes the sense of sacrifice and hope that their ordeal had not been in vain.
“Just 21 years later Australians were called on to fight in the Second World War and they have continued to serve for generations since.”
Minister Gee encouraged all Australians to commemorate Remembrance Day, whether in the community or at home, and to honour the fallen by following the tradition of wearing a red poppy.
“The poppies grew in the battlefields of France during the First World War, a burst of colour amidst the darkness and devastation,” Minister Gee said.
“I encourage everyone to buy a poppy from the Returned Services League (RSL) to help fund its work and wear it proudly in support of the veteran community.
“While COVID-19 restrictions may limit how we are able to gather this Remembrance Day, they will not stop us from honouring our fallen. Whether at home, work or school, or at a service in your local community, I encourage all Australians to pause for a minute’s silence at 11am to remember them, and to keep this vital tradition alive.”
The 2021 national Remembrance Day commemoration service will be hosted by the Australian War Memorial. The service will take place from 10.45am and be broadcast on ABC, radio, television and online.
Attendance at the event will be limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Tickets are available at www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/remembrance-day.