Sto­ries a source of in­spi­ra­tion

Joondalup Weekender - - REMEMBRANCE DAY - PHILIP COUPER, Li­ons Club of Whit­ford pres­i­dent

THIS year, Re­mem­brance Day has a very spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance as Novem­ber 11, 2018, also marks the 100th an­niver­sary of the Ar­mistice that ended World War I (1914–18).

Whilst I per­son­ally re­mem­ber and hon­our my late grand­fa­ther and vet­er­ans through­out the world, in Aus­tralia and within our own Li­ons Club of Whit­ford, I would also like to hon­our two very re­mark­able and in­spir­ing vet­er­ans that I met while at­tend­ing the Invictus Games in Syd­ney on Oc­to­ber 24.

The games were founded by Prince Harry in 2014 and gives sick and in­jured mil­i­tary per­son­nel and vet­er­ans the op­por­tu­nity to com­pete in sport.

Firstly, I met 100-yearold Master Sergeant Steve Mel­nikoff of the US Army, who was a vet­eran of the DDay land­ing at Omaha Beach in Nor­mandy, France on June 6, 1944.

On June 17, 1944, Steve was shot in the neck. Not want­ing to let his mates down, Steve ad­vised of his strug­gle to over­come his in­juries and how he fought to be able to get back into the fight and sup­port his mates.

Steve was un­for­tu­nately shot again, this time in his shoul­der on Septem­ber 14, 1944 while also suf­fer­ing shrap­nel in­juries from an ex­plo­sion.

Se­condly it was also my priv­i­lege to meet 100-yearold Mickey Gan­itch, who was the Quar­ter­mas­ter on the USS Penn­syl­va­nia.

Mickey was on duty on De­cem­ber 7, 1941, which was the day Pearl Har­bour was at­tacked by the Ja­panese.

What I wit­nessed not only in these two re­mark­able vet­er­ans but by all ser­vice per­son­nel from Aus­tralia and glob­ally at the games was hu­mil­ity. Steve and Mickey de­scribed it best when they said their mil­i­tary ser­vice was a priv­i­lege more than a duty.

“I’m no hero” they both told me, “es­pe­cially when we lost so many mates”.

The Invictus Games is truly in­spi­ra­tional, as is Steve, Mickey and all ser­vice per­son­nel and vet­er­ans from Aus­tralia and the world.

We owe all a tremen­dous debt of grat­i­tude and the hu­mil­ity demon­strated un­der­pins the ideals of mate­ship and the im­por­tance of Re­mem­brance Day. Our coun­try has a lot to be thank­ful for and equally a lot to re­mem­ber with the 100th an­niver­sary of the Ar­mistice and the end of World War I.

Li­ons Club of Whit­ford pres­i­dent Philip Couper with Steve Mel­nikoff and Mickey Gan­itch.

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