LAST week was the 102nd anniversary of the Armistice which ended World War One and the occasion was safely commemorated by over 120 locals safely outside at the Tea Gardens – Hawks Nest War Memorial, all sharing in a touching service conducted by the Tea Gardens RSL Sub-Branch (TG RSL).
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Under the clear spring day by the Myall river, the President of the TG RSL, veteran Mal Motum, told News Of The Area, “We are conducting this Remembrance Day safely and with council approval.
“We have also safely conducted services at a number of the local aged care homes to comfort people and to commemorate all who served.
“We also acknowledge NAIDOC week and the First Peoples who serve.”
Keeping with tradition, the ceremony started with the flag at Half Mast and with the Remembrance Oration spoken by Ray Prigg who described the day as “the most important day in my life”.
Lois McShane followed with the sad poem, “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, using the moment to inspire locals to sustain the legacy of those who served, “We are the Dead. Short days ago. We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow. Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders fields.”
There were over 13 wreaths laid, including from local police, emergency services, the Red Cross and Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair.
Many of the wreaths were handmade by Cheryl Roberts, the Secretary, who worked hard to ensure the day was organised and safe.
The Vice President, Shane Griffis, told NOTA,”We do this lest we forget. I served. I was proud to serve and my family served back to World War One, including as one of the Rats of Tobruk.”
The “Rats of Tobruk” is the name proudly given to the 14,000 Australian soldiers that held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the German Army under General Rommel.
The soldiers used a network of tunnels and caves to maintain their positions and the German’s derisively described them as ‘rats’, a name the Australians proudly took up, taking the rat as their insignia with the words ‘no surrender’.
The ceremony ended with all rising to stand in silence while The Last Post played under the flag at Full Mast.
The Tea Gardens – Hawks Nest war memorial on Marine Drive was officially opened in March 2002, and is a special spot dedicated to all those who serve.
By Sandra MURRAY