State unites to reflect on sacrifice
LARGE crowds are expected to gather for Remembrance Day services today as Tasmania stops to commemorate a century since World War I soldiers laid down their guns.
More than 40 Remembrance Day services are being held around the state, which is double the usual number, to mark 100 years since Armistice Day — November 11, 1918.
RSL state president Terry Roe said the sacrifice made by the thousands of Tasmanians who died fighting in World War I has not been forgotten.
“I think there will be huge crowds turning out across Tasmania given the significance of this day,” Mr Roe said.
He said a hundred years may have passed since World War I soldiers laid down their guns, but the depth of gratitude still ran deep as a new generation continued to learn about the significance of the event.
“We had four years of brutal conflict in World War I, during which more than 15,000 Tasmanians enlisted and close to 3000 Tasmanians died.
“When the Armistice was signed it was a huge, huge relief for people back here, knowing their loved ones were going to return home.”
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Guy Barnett said Tasmanians would not only stop to remember the devastating warfare of World War I, but all wars.
“On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, Australians pause for a minute silence to remember those men and women who have served and sacrificed for their country,” Mr Barnett said.
“Remembrance Day was originally called Armistice Day and commemorated the end of World War I, but now serves as a time to remember all those who have died in war.
“I encourage Tasmanians to attend local services as we remember the sacrifice and loss of our forebears.
“Since Federation, Tasmanians have fought valiantly in conflicts and taken part in peacekeeping efforts around the world. It is because of their sacrifice that we enjoy the freedoms we have today.”
High school student Mia Cooper, 15, will be one of many young Tasmanians making their way to the Hobart Cenotaph today, which is expected to host the state’s largest Remembrance Day gathering.
“World War I had a signifi- cant impact on Australia, and on Tasmania,” said Mia, who is in Grade 9 at Ogilvie High School.
Mia is one of six Tasmanian school students who have been awarded this year’s Frank McDonald Memorial Prize, which is a history essay competition. The students will all travel to France and Belgium next year to take part in Anzac Day commemorations.
Mia’s essay outlined the impact of World War I, with a discussion about whether the war made Australia a better place.
“I said it did make Australia better because it united us. We were only 13 years old, a newly federated country going off to war.”
She said the devastation of war was not an “ideal” way to unite a new country, “but it worked”. Mia said she also researched her own family history for the essay, by scouring national archives and the state library archives for war records.
“History is a subject I’ve always enjoyed, but having a level of connection made it even more interesting.”
The full list of Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize winners for 2018 are: Griffin McLaughlin (Tarremah Steiner School), Jenna Stacey (Mount Carmel College), Lydia Kelly (St Patrick’s College), Mia Cooper (Ogilvie High School), Nell Hentschel (Bayview Secondary College) and William Scott (Scotch Oakburn College).
e‘ I ncourage Tasmanians to attend local services as we remember the sacrifice and loss of our forebears. GUY BARNETT, MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS