– Time Passes, Hearts Heal, but Memories last Forever
THE Foster and District Community came together last Monday, November 11, to pay tribute to those who served Australia in times of war, including those who served in Iraq and East Timor and those still deployed to Afghanistan, as well as Australian Military involved in peace keeping forces.
The presence of those who attended the Foster RSL Sub-Branch’s service in Foster on Monday demonstrated the gratitude and respect Australians have for their fellow countrymen and women who fought to keep our country safe. Some 300 people attended the service, the number being greatly boosted by Foster Secondary College students. Traders in nearby shops left their businesses to follow the service from the footpath. The RSL thanks them for their respect for the occasion, along with both Secondary College and Primary school students for attending and for laying wreaths at the Cenotaph.
RSL president and Vietnam veteran Bruce Lester led the service. In his address Mr Lester spoke of Australia’s war service to the nation, mentioning each of the wars: WW1, WW11, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. The total loss of Australian service personnel during this time amounted to more than 100,000, mainly young men. “The heavy loss of WW1 soldiers was deeply felt in places such as Foster”, he said, “leaving a big gap in small communities”.
Warrant Officer (ret) Ian Sutton attended the flag, and bugler Felicity Waite played the haunting notes of The Last Post and Reveille on a WW1 bugle.
Members of the community also placed wreaths in memory of loved ones who served Australia.
At the end of formalities Mr Lester issued an invitation to those present to share a sausage barbecue at the RSL rooms.
THE whole Fish Creek Primary School community attended the service at Fish Creek led by RSL President Mike Lovell and Maurie Aitken.
It was certainly appreciated by the older members of not only the Fish Creek RSL, but also the older generation who were in attendance. The children of today will keep the spirit of the ANZAC’s alive, commented one local.
The service, held at the Rock of Remembrance, which is looking a picture, due to the ongoing maintenance of the South Gippsland Shire and the children of the local primary school, was brief, but moving as the Last Post echoed out in Fish Creek’s Falls Road.
The roses in particular, the red ones which represents the blood of the soldiers and the white ones, the nurses who served and died, looked splended for the occasion. They are also named after well known Fish Creek residents.
Lest We Forget!
Red and white roses in full bloom beside the scarlet of a handmade Flanders poppy on a white cross for each one of those locals who served and lost their lives in World War One formed a poignant background to Toora’s Armistice Day service.
All of the students and staff from Toora Primary School assembled at the Toora Cenotaph at the intersection of the South Gippsland Highway and Stanley Street just before 11 am on Monday, where the Australia flag stood at half-mast.
They joined members of the Toora Returned and Services League sub-branch and the local community who gathered for a short but moving service led by the Toora RSL’s Rod Coughran-Lane.
“Today we have time to reflect on those who died and served for the Australian cause,” he said.
“At 5 am on November 11, 1918, three representatives of the German Army accepted the terms of the Armistice and at 11 am the guns fell silent on the Western Front after four years of war.”
Mr Coughran-Lane read the Ode of Rembrance from Laurence Binyon’s famous poem For the Fallen before a minute’s silence was observed and recordings of The Last Post and Reveille were played.
Wreaths were laid at the foot of the cenotaph in memory those lost in World War One, World War Two, Korea, Malaya and Vietnam among other conflicts, while a small sheaf of native flowers was left for the nurses who also served in all theatres.
Three school students placed a bright wreath of their own in honour of service people everywhere.