Ninety years on, Australians still remember our fallen

November 20, 2009

Representatives of several  local organisations laid wreaths at the conclusion of a simple but moving ceremony of remembrance at the RSL Memorial Park last Wednesday.

RSL Sub Branch President, David Young noted it was 91 years ago that hostilities ceased on the Western Front, in a war that was meant to end all wars, and took the lives of between nine and 13 million people.

“At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare”, Mr. Young said. “On the first anniversary of the armistice in 1919 two minutes’ silence was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony at the new Cenotaph in London.”

King George V personally requested all the people of the British Empire to suspend normal activities for two minutes on the hour of the armistice ‘which stayed the worldwide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and Freedom’.  The two minutes’ silence was popularly adopted and it became a central feature of commemorations on Armistice Day.

After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead.

Mr. Young noted at 102,000 Australians have paid the supreme sacrifice while serving Rev. Brian Darbyshire led the prayers during the ceremony, and he and Pattie Steiger led the singing of the National Anthem.