October 19 to commemorate War Widows Day

There are many families like Lisa and Todd Giles who have both served, pictured here with their two children, Isabella and Oliver. Photo: Marian Sampson.

VIETNAM Veteran’s Day was commemorated last week and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet took the initiative to announce October 19 will be a special date each year for the State to officially recognise war widows and widowers of members of the Australian Defence Force for their contribution and personal sacrifice.

“Establishing a special day is a small token in recognising and honouring our war widows and widowers of those who made the ultimate sacrifice by serving in the defence forces,” Mr Perrottet said.

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“War Widows Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the contribution and personal sacrifice made by more than 15,000 surviving widows and widowers of servicemen and servicewomen across NSW.”

Minister for Transport, Veterans and Western Sydney David Elliott said War Widows Day acknowledged and honoured the resilient families in our communities who have faced enormous grief.

“The date acknowledges the birthday of Mrs Jessie Vasey OBE CBE (1897­-1966), founder of the Australian War Widows Guild in 1945,” Mr Elliott said.

“Mrs Vasey, widow of Major General George Vasey who was killed en route to New Guinea during the Second World War, worked tirelessly to ensure that war widows were recognised by governments in Australia and given the financial support and services they needed.

“Australian War Widows NSW provides essential support to improve the lives of widows and their families impacted by defence service through understanding their needs and advocating on their behalf.”

Minister for Women and Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said many women have had to navigate life as a war widow and it’s important we provide them with the services and support they need.

“War Widows Day will remind us all of the loss felt by many people across our communities and raise awareness of the network of resources and support available to war widows and widowers,” Mrs Taylor said.

Australian War Widows NSW (AWWNSW) is the oldest remaining war widows’ organisation in Australia, now 76 years old.

Today, AWWNSW offers services, support and advocacy for all veterans’ families.

Australian War Widows NSW, State President, Ms Queen Dunbar, thanked the NSW Premier for declaring the day as a fitting annual acknowledgement.

“This day is for all who have been touched and bereaved by the death of their spouses as a result of their Defence service,” Ms Dunbar said.

“We greatly appreciate the support of the NSW government in ensuring all Defence widows and widowers from across the State are recognised for their lifelong sacrifices.”

“It’s important that together we empower, support, inspire and celebrate our war widows, carers and families affected by Defence service.”

Doug Jacka of Legacy Port Stephens told News Of The Area, “Legacy supports the widows and children of Defence Force personnel who had fallen on hard times or were deceased, their numbers total over 200 in the Port Stephens area.”


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