Day reminds us not to forget war dead

I WONDER how many people will actually remember Remembrance Day today.

How many people will take the time to stop chatting, twittering or emailing long enough to observe one minute’s silence at the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month.

It marks the moment, 91 years ago today, that the guns fell silent on the Western Front to end hostilities in World War I.

The Great War, as it became known, saw the mobilisation of over 70 million people and left between nine and 13 million dead, many of them with no known grave.

More than 330,000 Australians served overseas and, of those, 60,000 lost their lives.

Australia’s last surviving WWI digger Jack Ross died in Victoria earlier this year.

Nowadays, Remembrance Day more broadly commemorates all those who lost their lives in war.

But as the number of WWI survivors in Australia has dwindled to none, Remembrance Day, as a ceremony, is no longer embraced in the same way as Anzac Day is.

Which is why it is heartening to hear from a spokesperson for the 41st Battalion Royal NSW Regiment, based in Lismore, that they will continue to support local Remembrance Day commemorative services.

With the defence budget under review, and resources stretched to the limit, it can’t be easy funding a uniformed presence at every ceremony.

But it would be a great shame if Remembrance Day becomes increasingly etched from the public’s collective memory.

And if you are reading this column after 11am, ask yourself one question – did you stop and remember?

Lest we forget.

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