Pay our respects

At 11am this Sunday, millions of people around the world will stop and, for a single minute, remember the moment when the soldiers of WW1 ceased fire and put down their guns.
The anniversary of the Armistice of WW1 is an important day that – even a century on – deserves recognition.
Without the sacrifices of the men and women who risked their lives, our lives here in Australia may not have been as they are today.
We live in one of the luckiest countries in the world, built on the sacrifices of thousands of soldiers who gave their lives during the “war to end all war” and following conflicts.
Some of these men and women had no choice – conscripted to service and fighting wars that were not their own.
Like us, they felt pain and fear and joy.
But unlike most of us, they lived day after day watching in anguish as mates that had become like brothers died before their eyes.
They fought hour after hour with the knowledge that their time could end at any moment.
As we pause and remember the sacrifices of these Australians, we must also remember the fallen among the enemy, many of whom – like the Allied soldiers we celebrate each year – were pawns in a power struggle beyond their control.
Like the families of our war heroes, their families mourned their loss and, like our war veterans, they still live with the ghosts of the horrors of war.
In an era where there is no immediate threat to our home soil, when wars are fought thousands of kilometers away and Australian casualties are so rare they make news headlines, war can seem like a thing of the past.
But the horror of these conflicts must never be forgotten.
Throughout WW1 alone, almost 20 million families were torn apart.
Millions of parents mourned the loss of children they would never see again.
Millions of wives mourned husbands who would never come home.
Millions of children mourned fathers they would never know.
On November 11, all Australians should celebrate our good fortune to live in this country.
But we must also remember the cost of that freedom – the tragedy of war and the senseless loss of life.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.

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