Ded­i­cated to com­mu­nity and vet­er­ans

Boyd Baker takes pride in his RSL role

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50 LIFE - Adam McCleery

AT 70 years old, Gayn­dah RSL sub-branch pres­i­dent Boyd Baker has lived long enough to see stages of trib­ute and com­mem­o­ra­tion for our sol­diers and vet­er­ans alike.

Mr Baker was in the Na­tional Guard from 1966-67 and while he did not see ac­tion over­seas, he still felt a kin­ship with and pride for those who did.

“It wasn’t ac­tu­ally un­til some time in the 1990s that the RSL al­lowed mem­bers be­yond re­turned ser­vice­men to join,” Mr Baker said.

“I think it was a case of the num­bers of re­turned ser­vice­man was dwin­dling and you had oth­ers who were ready to join and sup­port.”

Mr Baker was and still is ex­tremely proud to be a part of the RSL and has been the Gayn­dah sub-branch pres­i­dent for four years.

“It’s ex­tremely ful­fill­ing,” Mr Baker said. “Be­ing able to con­duct the cer­e­monies on Re­mem­brance Day and An­zac Day is an hon­our for me.”

Each year in Gayn­dah, a new fo­cus is put on the com­mem­o­ra­tions, mostly set around im­por­tant dates and events that co­in­cide with any given year.

This year it will be the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele, one of World War I’s most hor­rific bat­tles.

“We put fo­cus on some­thing dif­fer­ent each year as a com­mem­o­ra­tion and this year it will have been 100 years since the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele,” Mr Baker said.

This week­end’s Re­mem­brance Day will also be the of­fi­cial un­veil­ing of the new roll of hon­our board in Gayn­dah, which un­der­went up­grades re­cently.

“I think it looks great,” Mr Baker said.

On the foot­path at the base of the roll of hon­our are cir­cu­lar plaques that have a few names on them. This path of hon­our was de­signed to hon­our all.

“Sadly, some­times names get missed on the roll of hon­our,” Mr Baker said.

“So these plaques were orig­i­nally to recog­nise those names that were missed.

“But also to hon­our sol­diers who did not die in the war but came to Gayn­dah and lived out their lives here – we want to hon­our what they have done, too.” Mr Baker has seen many World War I and World War II vet­er­ans pass on through the years, clar­i­fy­ing the im­por­tance of com­mem­o­rat­ing their mem­ory and sac­ri­fices.

“I try my best not to use the word cel­e­brate be­cause it doesn’t quite fit with what we are re­mem­ber­ing,” Mr Baker said.

“Com­mem­o­rate is a more ap­pro­pri­ate word.”

While Mr Baker does in some way fear for the long-term fu­ture of events like Re­mem­brance Day, his faith is still re­stored on those spe­cial days.

“In the world we live in to­day, I do get a bit scared that this type of thing is go­ing to fade away with time,” Mr Baker said.

“But then we get all the school stu­dents who come down on Re­mem­brance Day or An­zac Day and that is great to see.

“While it can be hard for the kids to fully grasp what it is that hap­pened, I think teach­ing them early on helps them in the fu­ture.”

Mr Baker said he didn’t ex­pect a crowd this Satur­day as big as on An­zac Day.

“An­zac Day is the recog­nised pub­lic hol­i­day, so we do get more num­bers,” Mr Baker said.

“But with that be­ing said, I do en­cour­age the com­mu­nity, schools and alike to mark the 11th hour minute of si­lence at 11am.”

❝ I do en­cour­age the com­mu­nity, schools and alike to mark the 11th hour minute of si­lence at 11am.

COM­MU­NITY MAN: Gayn­dah RSL sub-branch pres­i­dent Boyd Baker is hon­oured to do the work he does within the com­mu­nity.

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