RESPECT: The Remembrance Day service at the Lismore Cenotaph outside the Memorial Baths honoured those who fought in the First World War.
RESPECT: The Remembrance Day service at the Lismore Cenotaph outside the Memorial Baths honoured those who fought in the First World War. Marc Stapelberg

Reality check at Lismore as world gathers to mourn war dead

IT IS 96 years since the guns fell silent on the Western Front, but Remembrance Day has lost none of its grace and power.

The worldwide commemoration of those who died in the First World War, Australia's bloodiest conflict, was marked by a frank reality check by Lismore RSL sub-branch chaplain Reverend Bob Rutherford to some 200 people assembled at the Lismore Cenotaph.

"We stand here today 100 years on from the declaration of World War One, 'the war to end all wars'," Rev Rutherford said.

"Yet today the sadness is that the world as a whole has not been at peace since 1914. More than 100 million people have died as a direct result of war since 1914."

Rev Rutherford explain-ed later that people needed to be made aware of the immensity of the loss of war so "they will do everything in their power to make sure that it doesn't happen again".

"It's important to feel that futility so it sparks off that resolve to do something about it," he said.

Traditional elements of Remembrance Day such as poppy flowers, the wreath-laying, and the Last Post came together to create a moving ode to the war dead.

Among those attending the Lismore service were active service personnel, veterans both young and old, Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, senior citizens, school students and young people.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said she appreciated the number of young attending the service, and predicted numbers at Remembrance Day ceremonies would continue to rise.

Cr Dowell particularly praised Rev Rutherford: "He always sends a message of war is not the answer... and I think that's a message to quell any ideas that this is about glorifying the war, (because) it's not - it's about remembering respectfully and working towards peace."

Lismore sub-branch president, Vietnam veteran Cecil Harris said he especially admired the 20 or so young veterans who attended without their former uni-forms or campaign medals.



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