In Eaglehawk we take the time to observe Remembrance Day each year with a service to reflect on the sacrifices of the people who have served in the war at any time.
At the 11th hour on 11th day of the 11th month (11am, 11/11) we take a minute of silence to remember those lost; sons, fathers, daughters, mothers, uncles, aunts, friends, work colleagues, grandparents and also great grandparents.
This year’s Remembrance Day service at Eaglehawk Soldiers Memorial was a moving tribute to those who have lost their lives in battle.
Vietnam war veteran Paul Penno hosted the ceremony and gave an informative summary of the history and significance of Remembrance Day, including the fact that it was an Australian who is responsible for the minute’s silence that is observed in many countries across the world. Edward Honey, Australian journalist was attributed as being the person who suggested the ritual of observing the two minutes silence to fallen soldiers. This was later changed to one minute.
“Why is this day so special to Australia? It was the day the guns of the Western Front (WW1) fell quiet,” Paul said.
Paul also explained to the younger members of the audience (St Liborius school laid a wreath) why servicemen cover their medals during the silence and last post. He said it was to honour the supreme sacrifice the fallen have made and covering up any medals was to signify that no matter what honours survivors may have been awarded they are nothing compared with the honour due to those who paid the supreme sacrifice.
Dressed in full military uniform, including items worn by two of his family members in war, local resident, Geoffrey Graham recited the poem Lone Pine. Geoffery has just returned home from Israel where he was part of commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the Australian Light Horse on Beersheba.
Vietnam veteran Wayne Forbes recited The Ode before a number of wreaths were laid at the foot of the war memorial.
Many people attending the service wore poppies. The Flanders poppy has long been a part of Remembrance Day because during the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium and their colour has been been linked in literature and folklore to the blood shed on the fields. In Australia they were first sold in 1921.
ESC student Aaliyah Mouat attended the service and shared her thoughts:
“The Remembrance Day service to me was heart-warming. It was a nice feeling to be able to see so many people that care for others who were either injured or have died at war. It was great to hear some of the survivors’ words about what they think about war. It was also good to learn about all the historical information from the past wars. I thank people who fought for our country.”