Stirring words at Remembrance Day ceremonies
THE Last Post rang out across the Tweed Shire today as residents observed a minute’s silence at 11am to remember the more than 102,000 diggers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Marked since 1919, the year after the end of World War One, the Remembrance Day anniversary has since expanded to include commemoration of those who have died in all wars since.
At Tweed Heads, an address by Pastor John Reid received a rousing response from 150 decorated war veterans and their families as he warned about the threat of Islamic state militants at a ceremony at Anzac Memorial Fountain cenotaph.
More than 1200 brightly-knitted poppies proved a moving centrepiece as the audience shared a minute’s silence following the sounding of the Last Post at 11am.
Pastor Reid, Twin Towns RSL chaplain and assistant at St Cuthbert's Anglican Church, reminded the crowd of the lives - and limbs - lost to secure Australia’s freedom.
“Take strong action against these radicals, fundamentalist sympathisers, among our Muslim population, toward ISIS and DAESH,” Pastor Reid said.
“You don’t fit an enemy within by underestimating its danger and strength, by claiming it’s only a minority population.”
After the service, he told the Tweed Daily News he felt compelled to remind residents of the price paid by diggers to protect this country.
“They put their lives on the line to have our country the way that it is today,” Pastor Reid said.
“If you sometimes come to the RSL and see a bloke with one arm and one leg - those blokes fought to keep that freedom that we have in this wonderful country.”
He warned the Middle East conflict could expand to threaten our nation’s sovereignty.
“There is a minor Muslim community who want Sharia law for themselves, but you can’t have two laws in this country - we have one law and that’s it, we don’t want to change anything, we’re happy as it is,” he said.
Elsewhere, up to 100 people attended a ceremony at Kingscliff’s War Memorial, where veterans and their families mingled with school children.
Wreaths and flowers were laid at the cenotaph, including a simple hand-fashioned cross paying respects to Kingscliff sapper Rowan Robinson, who lost his life while fighting in Afghanistan in 2011.
Tweed Heads Veterans Access Network team leader Bronwyn Fenton called on residents to remember surviving veterans, many of whom had struggled with mental health issues since their return from service.
“I am saddened by the tangible affects of their service,” Ms Fenton said.
“The often difficult transition from serving in the ADF to settling into the community, settling into a new life and finding a new purpose, and more often mental illness that can make a capable, independent person unable to cope with daily life stresses.”
“Too often they find it difficult to ask for help as they are unpretentious, honest people.
“Governments, communities, organisations, families and friends need to continue to reach out to those in need and offer support and compassion.”
At Murwillumbah, about 150 people, including Tweed Mayor Katie Milne, paid their respects to the 250 soldiers from the Northern Rivers who died in the First World War as well as the 900 men and women injured in that war.
The ceremony was hosted by students from Murwillumbah Public School who provided music and stirring speeches in remembrance of the brave men and women who gave their lives for their country.