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Community & Business

15 November, 2023

Remembrance Day 2023 in Gilgandra

The local community of Gilgandra, gathered last Saturday, November 11 at 11am, to remember those who served and died for our country in World War I.

Students paying tribute to those who have served on Remembrance Day in Gilgandra.

By Alana Elsom, work experience Gilgandra High School

Gilgandra RSL Sub-Branch president Bruce Horwood, welcomed the town to acknowledge and honour the men and women who sacrificed their lives. 

A beautiful ceremony was held at the memorial down the main street, many community members engaged in the traditions of Remembrance Day, which marks such a significant event in Australia’s history. 

“The 11th hour of 11th day of the 11th month, Remembrance Day is a time not only to remember those who have given their lives in service, but also to reflect on historical events that led to this day of international significance.” 

Mr Horwood stood proud upon the podium, reflecting upon the origins of Remembrance Day. 

“Originally announced to mark the anniversary of the Armistice had in fighting with Germany in WWI, Remembrance Day gives us all the opportunity to acknowledge the service personnel who died while serving, whether in wars conflicts or peace keeping operations,” he said.

“At 5am on the 11th of November 1918 in a railway carriage in France, representatives of France, Britain, and Germany, all signed a document that would put an end to four years of conflict. Six hours later at 11 am those signatures would bring into effect the armistice that ended WWI.

“On the first anniversary of the armistice, 11th of November was known as Armistice. King George V asked all the people of the British Empire to observe two minutes of silence at 11am In tradition, during Remembrance Day services, we remember all who have served in Australian Defence Force in WWI and in all war’s conflicts, and peace keeping operations. 

“The Remembrance Day minute of silence was formalised in Australia in 1997 by governor general Sir William Dean. He issued a proclamation declaring November 11 to be Remembrance Day and urging all Australians to observe one minute of silence at 11am on 11th of November each year.” 

Mr Horwood strongly encourages all Australians to attend a service, and honour those who have served. 

The ceremony continued with the laying of the wreaths by the community, lead by the Gilgandra RSL Sub-Branch. 

Alan Craig was then called forward to deliver a prayer. He addressed all involved and those who suffered in war time, including those who fought, their families and loved ones, asking Jesus Christ to provide them with peace and justice. 

Two senior leader representatives from Gilgandra High School, Sarah Temple and Jade Elsom, were warmly welcomed to share their knowledge and commemorative practises with the local community. 

Sarah Temple then recited a poem, ‘The Wound in Time’ by Carol Ann Duffy. This poem had a lasting effect on the gathering community as it conveys a significant message, wounds leave scars, not only physically but in our hearts.

Sub-Branch member William Ballard was also invited to speak. “Service people, men and women were all givers. Some gave more than most. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice and didn’t return. Today’s all about remembering them, it’s good to see our sub-branches, gone into schools lately to educate children about what happens in wartime,” said Mr Ballard. 

He then proceeded with a poem, ‘The Inquisitive Mind of a Child’, by an unknown author. 

To conclude the ceremony there was the playing to the The Last Post, the Ode of Remembrance, a minute’s silence broken by the Reveille and the Australian National Anthem was sung. 

The crowd dispersed for a further service to be held at Cooee Lodge later in the day and lunch at the Gilgandra Services Club.

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