At the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, more than 50 Clarence Valley residents came together in Grafton’s Memorial Park during the 2021 Remembrance Day service, to pay their respects and stand in united silence for one minute, in honour of the thousands of Australians who fought and lost their lives in wars, armed conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
It has also been 103 years since the guns on the Western Front fell silent, and one of the bloodiest campaigns in history, World War I, officially ceased after four years of ongoing warfare which claimed the lives of over 60000 Australians.
As he stepped up to the microphone, Honourable Secretary of the Grafton RSL Sub-Branch Denis Benfield and MC for the service, said Remembrance Day is a time to remember those who served and fought, those who came home, and those who didn’t.
His poignant words were echoed by Grafton High School Vice-Captain Elect for 2022 Laura Hennessy who spoke about the significant history associated with November 11, and the importance of remembering those who fought and died and keeping their memory alive for future generations.
“Imagine what it would have been like to be in Sydney on that day, on the eleventh of November in 1918, when the word finally came through that the war had finally stopped,” she said to the crowd, as she spoke of the incredible, and selfless sacrifices of so many Australians, who fought for their country.
As the Very Reverend Dr Greg Jenks, Dean of Grafton read the Prayer of Remembrance, Prayer for Peace and Prayer for ADF, attendees bowed their heads respectfully before dignitaries and respective parties were dutifully invited to lay wreaths beneath the cenotaph.
The service officially concluded as the Australian flag was proudly raised above Memorial Park during Rouse.
Following the service, local woman Brenda Phillips said it is important for the community to come together each year on Remembrance Day.
“None of us should ever forget what happened during the wars and conflicts where Australian lives were lost to keep our country safe from enemy hands,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter how many worries you may have, Remembrance Day is a time to reflect on how fortunate we all are to be here together.
“The fallen, and those who served and returned, they should always be remembered.”
Lest we forget.