Today marks a very important day in our calendar as we pause momentarily from our busy lives on Remembrance Day. Today our students have participated in a range of Remembrance Day services.
Originally called Armistice Day in recognition of the cessation of hostilities in World War 1, Remembrance Day began in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. During World War 1, Australia suffered a staggering 62,000 killed and a further 150,000 wounded. For Australia, the war represented such incredible trauma to a small nation – grief for those killed, ongoing hardship for those with debilitating injuries, and what we now recognise as post-traumatic stress disorder. This trauma was so significant and so universal across our country that nearly every township set about creating a memorial.
More than 100 years later we continue to reflect on the sacrifice and service of so many Australians. Not just for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but those who suffered life-changing injuries, for families of lost loved ones and those supporting families returning from war.
Unfortunately the ‘war to end all wars’ did not stop further conflict. The events in Eastern Europe fill us with such sadness that this sacrifice and trauma continues to impact people’s lives. Therefore, today is not only about remembering the sacrifice of our past and present ADF personnel, but also a chance to reaffirm our belief about the importance of peace for the future of our students.
• Stephen McGinley was a member of the Australian Army Cadets in his school years and now volunteers with the Cadet Unit at Beaconhills College.