Pausing to remember

By Olivia Duffey

More than 100 people bowed their heads in respect when the fire siren marked 11am on Remembrance Day.

Followed immediately by a minute’s silence, the Monday morning service at the Deniliquin Cenotaph was a solemn occasion.

Servicemen, veterans and emergency service personnel stood to attention, saluting the fallen and those who survived World War I.

‘‘At this hour in 1918, armistice was declared, bringing an end to more than four years of horrible slaughter, particularly on the western front of France and Belgium,’’ Deniliquin RSL Sub-branch president Don Ward declared when the minute was up.

‘‘Millions had died, including almost 60,000 Australians. Such was a terrible tragedy of war.

‘‘We are here to remember them and we should never forget their sacrifice.’’

Mr Ward said while yesterday's service marked 101 years since the end of World War I, it has come to be a symbol for all conflicts that have occurred since.

He said it is a day to also remember those who made ‘‘the supreme sacrifice’’ in World War II, Korea, the Malayan emergency, Vietnam, Iraq, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Afghanistan and many other wars, peacemaking and peacekeeping operations.

‘‘We also remember those who have returned and bear the mental and physical scars as a result of their service,’’ Mr Ward said.

Sub-branch member Steve Fawns said it is also important to remember the families of those who have served.

‘‘We are here and others are not, that is the bottom line,’’ he said.

‘‘It is very easy to take their service for granted because it is their sacrifice that makes our lives so easy.

‘‘But it is not just about those who served, it is their families who were disrupted in conflict and those families of today’s servicemen who still go through and accommodate for the same changes.’’

Corowa’s Graeme Stewart played a traditional Scottish lament on the bagpipes as the wreaths were laid by representatives of Edward River Council, the Sub-branch and RSL Club, Legacy, local schools, emergency services and community groups.