Vet rides in style at Anzac march
CHARLES HUGGARD, from Victoria, got the ride of his life at the Anzac Day march in Lismore yesterday.
The 89-year-old WWII veteran was on the Northern Rivers visiting family and had planned to walk the march route before being spotted by Ken Jolley, from the Lismore RSL Sub-branch.
“The poor old fella was having trouble walking so we put him in the restored WWII army Jeep that led theparade,” Mr Jolley said.
The jeep’s owner/driver, Bob Trevan, said the large crowd burst into applause all along the route for the former soldier from the 39th Battalion, who had served in New Guinea.
Half-way along Molesworth Street Mr Trevan spotted a Papua New Guinean family and remembered the ‘fuzzy wuzzy angels’ of New Guinea who saved the lives of countless Australian and New Zealand troops during WWII.
“I stopped and said to them ‘youdeserve to be up here too’,” he said.
“The dad let his son get in and Charles was over the moon to talk to this guy from PNG. The crowd just loved it.”
Following a huge turn-out of 1500 for yesterday’s dawn service, about 5000 lined Molesworth Street for the main march and service at the Cenotaph.
While several people succumbed to the unseasonably hot weather, the massive crowd, which stretched out as far as the eye could see, stood quietly and attentively throughout the service.
Lismore RSL Sub-branch president Cec Harris opened the service, declaring the Anzac qualities of courage,sacrifice and mateship were those that bound all Australians, regardless of their background.
“We’re not here to glorify war, but to honour our mates (and) pass on the lessons of the futility of war,” he said.
Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Pascoe, commanding officer of the Lismore-based 41st Battalion, delivered the keynote speech recounting the terrible losses of both world wars.
“Their sacrifice typifies the sacrifices we have to make for the greater good,” he said, adding that no one returned from war the same person.
“Anzac Day is not a commemoration of victories or defeats, but to simplyremember the ordinary Australian men and women who gave their lives for the peace we have today. The Anzac tradition helps us focus on what is important to us today.”
In a moving conclusion the flag was lowered to half mast to the sounds of the Last Post and two minutes’ silence, before being raised to the singing of the national anthem.