This weekend marks the 101st anniversary of the end of the World War One and importantly Monday the 11th of November is the 100th Anniversary of the first Remembrance Day.
On the 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the Germans back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months. In early November the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted allied terms that amounted to unconditional surrender.
The tomb of the unknown soldier honours the memory of all men and women who lay down their lives for Australia. The tomb is a reminder of what we have lost in war and what we have gained. More than 100,000 Australians have been lost but we have gained a legend: a story of bravery and sacrifice and with it a deeper meaning of what it means to be Australian.
At the remembrance day service in 1993 Prime Minister Paul Keating MP delivered the Eulogy to the Unknown Soldier.
We do not know this Australian’s name and we never will.
We do not know his rank or his battalion.
We do not know where he was born, nor precisely how and when he died.
We do not know where in Australia he had made his home or when he left it for the battlefields of Europe.
We do not know his age or his circumstances – whether he was from the city or the bush; what occupation he left to become a soldier; what religion, if he had a religion; if he was married or single.
We do not know who loved him or whom he loved. If he had children we do not know who they are. His family is lost to us as he was lost to them.
We will never know who this Australian was.
Yet he has always been among those whom we have honoured. We know that he was one of the 45,000 Australians who died on the Western Front. One of the 416,000 Australians who volunteered for service in the First World War. One of the 324,000 Australians who served overseas in that war and one of the 60,000 Australians who died on foreign soil. One of the 100,000 Australians who have died in wars this century.
He is all of them. And he is one of us.
On this Remembrance Day Weekend Wantirna LAC remembers all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, those that have served and those that continue to serve.
We encourage all of our athletes, friends and families to wear a poppy on Saturday.
Lest we forget