Remembering our fallen this Wednesday


Today is a special day for so many of us. It is the day we remember our service men and women and those who gave all in service of our country.

It is a day where we remember the time when the guns of the Western Front fell silent in 1918.

After four years of fighting, an armistice was called so that the German forces could agree to an unconditional surrender.

It is important that we take a moment to reflect on the conclusion of hostilities that engaged the forces of our newly minted nation.

It's a poignant time for many of us. This morning, I was trying to come to terms with the fact that so many of those who enlisted a century ago were scarcely older than my own sons. Some were younger; not yet old enough to get married, drink or gamble but willing and able to venture off to war.

The army recruiters turned a blind eye to their youth and the tears of their mothers as they enlisted to serve King and country.

Today's service at the War Memorial in Canberra featured an Aboriginal woman whose own father served. She spoke of how he returned and wasn't welcomed in the RSL, nor afforded the same settlement grants as the white diggers.

I know it was a different time where different values were predominant but I cannot help but see it as a terrible circumstance.

So too was the treatment handed out to our Vietnam veterans and any number of other service men and women who have been so valiant in defence of our freedoms.

Some return, apparently untroubled by the events of war, whilst others struggle to deal with wounds which are not always physical.

Our nation owes them all our respect, our gratitude and our help. Remembrance Day, like Anzac Day, is a reminder of just how much so many owe so few.