We will remember

By Patrick Tansey

People gathered at Cobram war memorial on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

The local community, young and old, stood as one to remember all those who paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedom.

Although veterans of World War I are gone, their sacrifice to fight for our fledgling country have not been lost with time.

Younger generations continue to attend commemorative services, showing the valour and spirit of our Anzacs will live on.

While Remembrance Day this year carried an extra layer of significance — the centenary year of the Armistice — the veterans, medics and women of all wars were remembered.

In his address, Cobram Barooga RSL Sub-Branch president Rob Brown asked the crowd to remember those who fought and died in the battle of Gallipoli, on the Western Front, on the islands of the pacific, in Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also made mention of those serving now who have sacrificed so much to ensure Australia remains a safe and vibrant country to live in, while reflecting on those who went before us for the sake of our freedom.

‘‘We think of those currently in peacekeeping roles throughout the world today, doing the will of their country in the hope of peace for our younger generations,’’ Mr Brown said.

‘‘We who are left, owe so much to those many Australians we remember today, who died that we may live in peace and freedom.’’

The crowd also heard from Cobram-born Lieutenant Colonel Julian West, who is posted to Headquarters Forces Command, Victoria Barracks, Sydney.

Lt Col West spoke about the start of World War I, which began with much fanfare, where young men in their tens of thousands quickly joined the Australian Imperial Force with an eagerness to fight the enemy and support their mother country, Great Britain.

‘‘Most expected it would be a quick fight, over in several months. Unfortunately it did not turn out that way. The war lasted four long years and millions upon millions died,’’ he said.

Lt Col West said the willingness of those men to put their hand up and go to battle for our country inspired him every day.

‘‘The AIF was one of three World War I allied armies that did not subscript. It was purely a volunteer force of men and women, much like the men and women you see in the Australian Defence Force today,’’ he said.

‘‘The Anzac spirit forged at Gallipoli will never be forgotten and those men that died during the Great War will forever be remembered. Their blood helped make Australia the safe and prosperous country we live in today.’’

Lt Col West reflected on the consequences of World War I and its ramifications for our burgeoning country.

‘‘The impact of World War I upon our small nation was devastating; we lost so much of the future talent of our country. Mothers lost sons, wives lost husbands, and sisters lost brothers,’’ he said.

Lt Col West thanked everyone in attendance.

‘‘Regardless of whether you’re Australian or not, you are contributing to maintaining the Anzac legacy just by being here.’’