Epping RSL sub-Branch President’s Message October-December 2018
Originally the 11th November was known as Armistice Day, in recognition of the time in 1918 that the guns fell silent and the horrors of World War 1 ceased. At that time the details of the carnage and full horror of that 4-year period since 1914 of total war was to be realized by the nations who had been entangled in such conflict. In recognition of that time of the armistice and at 11 o’clock on the 11th day of November 1918, the peoples of the allied nations ceased their activities and stood silent for a minute to reflect and remember and be thankful for the sacrifice paid by others for their freedom of today.
After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British Governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead.
This year on November 11th will be the centenary of that original Armistice Day which ended the Great War. Remembrance Day, that defining moment in world history, that was the conclusion of four years of total war in which the loss of life of service personnel in conflicts was of monumental proportions which is documented on the memorial plinths spread across France and Belgium. To such lists could be added the millions of civilians who died because of the actions and horrors of war or in modern terminology were the ‘collateral damage’.
Within a generation of that event the world was again engaged in a new conflict or as some historians would state perhaps a continuation of those old issues of WW1 but was in fact World War 2. Again, this was a 6-year war in which hundreds of thousands of service personal comprised of Australians and our allies died in the cause of world peace and national stability.
Since the ending of WW2, the maintenance of peace has involved some intervention actions in many countries in which internal instability has threaten world peace and such actions involved the commitment and sacrifices of our service forces as they were involved in many ‘peace keeping’ confrontations across the world.
With the advent of modern technology, use of surveillance from space coupled with remote sensing and arms control, today our defence does not rely on the great number of frontline personnel that was the situation in WW1 and WW2. Yet we still rely on the courage and commitment of the volunteers who serve our nation’s defence systems. Of the thousands that are ever ready for deployment, to use their special skills and training in time of threat to our peace.
So, Remembrance Day is the time to remember, reflect and respect the service and sacrifices of our forebears. To reiterate the many heroic deeds and events of those years; a time to take pride in our past. To remember the sacrifice that the families of the casualties of war have had to carry. Remembrance Day should also be a time to reflect upon the current generation of defence personal that have dedicated their lives and are giving of their abilities and ever ready to take up the fight should our nation security be challenged.
Lest we Forget
John K Curdie OAM