Mur'bah pays tribute to veterans
SCHOOL children from Murwillumbah Public School for the second year running conducted the Remembrance Day Service in the heart of the town yesterday at the invitation of local veterans.
Four Year 6 students shared the role of Master of Ceremonies before just over 200 people who gather in the memorial park in front of the Tweed Shire Council chambers shortly before 10.45am.
After yesterday’s main service, a new plaque was added to the memorial wall in Murwillumbah, honouring those who service in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.
Murwillumbah RSL sub-branch president Derek Sims said although the war lasted only three years, 339 Australian soldiers died, 1584 were wounded and 29 taken as prisoners of war.
Yet he added: “As far as the Australian public were concerned it was the forgotten war”.
Korean War veteran, Colonel Tom Harwood Am, who was born in Murwillumbah and Murwillumbah High School Captain in 1946, was invited to unveil the flag.
He joined Beryl Lawther, wife of another veteran Eric Butch Lawther who could not attend due to ill health, and his daughter Murwillumbah Public School music teacher Vicki Armour who moments before had been busy conducting the Remembrance Day choir.
Colonel Harwood, who had led a platoon in Korea before rising through the ranks of the Australian Army, then retiring to run a Dairy farm at Old Bonalbo west of Casino before “fully retiring” to Ballina, told the assembled crowd the United Nations’ division of Korea after World War II was “a recipe for disaster”.
“They had not decided how they would unify Korea,” he said, adding that the North had decided to impose its regime on the south.
Col. Harwood said 21 nations responded to a United Nations call to evict the invader.The war was costly.
On the United Nations’ side 95,700 soldiers were killed and 402,000 wounded.
“Those casualty rates are second only to the Great War – World War II,” said Col Harwood.
“On this day I distinctly remember the two fellows our platoon lost close to the end of the war.
“They were great young Australians and would have made fine citizens of this country.”