Everyone is kissing in the streets
DIGGER DIARIES REVEAL THE JOY OF PEACE
QUEENSLANDERS will be encouraged to recapture the joy of the first Armistice as they mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I today.
The call comes from RSL Queensland State President Tony Ferris who will address about 5000 people gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance in Brisbane this morning. Many more will watch big screens in King George Square.
“This year, the Centenary of the Armistice, I urge you to remember the spirit of that first Armistice when the streets overflowed with happiness and people hoped it really would be the beginning of a lasting peace,” his prepared speech says.
And in a modern twist, he has called for people to put down their phones to quietly reflect on the sacrifice of all those who have served their country.
“I ask all Queenslanders to put down their phones and stop what they’re doing at 11am to contemplate the courage of the thousands of Australians who have served to protect our way of life,” Mr Ferris said.
“Take some time today to talk to our veterans and reassure them that we will not forget their contribution.”
Mr Ferris said the service in Ann St was the time for solemnity.
“We gather at the Shrine of Remembrance, a memorial that reminds us of the terrible price paid by our service men and women, their families and their communities.
“The fallen remained on foreign soil; their families had no gravestone to visit. This memorial, like those in every town and city throughout Queensland, became the focus for the community’s grief and respect and they remain so even today.”
It was possible organisers would return to the original two minutes of silence this year. It was reduced to one minute around the time of World War II.
Mr Ferris said that having acknowledged the loss, it was important to recall that the Armistice was ‘‘to celebrate the end of war”.
Bells will ring out across Brisbane at 12.30pm today and about 7000 people will attend a ‘‘ Freedom Sounds” concert at Riverstage from 1.30pm.
Pete Murray, Kate Ceberano and Ash Grunwald will headline the free family event aimed at reflecting the celebratory mood 100 years ago when the guns finally fell silent on the battlefields of the Western Front.
From a population of five million, almost 417,000 Australian men enlisted for World War I and more than 3000 women served as nurses.
Acting Governor, Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, will lay a wreath at this morning’s service on behalf of Queensland Governor, His Excellency Paul de Jersey who will be at the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in France.
In a video message to be released today, Mr de Jersey says: “Today, as well as commemorating the centenary with a focus on the past – the amazing courage and commitment of our forebears – we acknowledge also our courageous service men and women in active fields of war, striving now for the peace which still regrettably eludes us.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told The Sunday Mail: “This Remembrance Day is particularly poignant, and is an opportunity for Queenslanders to honour the service and sacrifice made by all servicemen and women for the freedom and lifestyle we enjoy today.
“We owe those brave men and women so very much.”
Meanwhile, new careers are opening up to military veterans as the Palaszczuk Government offers the opportunity for vets to make a new start in a public service career.
The Online Careers Fair, coordinated by the Queensland Public Service Commission, is designed to help exAustralian Defence Force members match their skills with a variety of jobs.
In the first seven days of registrations, more than 150 veterans from across Queensland have already signed up to discover career options in the public sector.
The Labor Government is confident several hundred more will register before the cut-off deadline in 12 days.
The Premier said veterans possessed some of the most well-regarded diverse and readily transferable skills and experience in the labour market.
One of those is CITEC executive director Lance Perry, who previously worked for the Australian Royal Navy.
“Since July, 53 veterans have been employed in jobs as diverse as rangers, HR professionals, project managers and intelligence analysts,’’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
The street is thick with excitement, horns blowing, bells clanging and singing. The place is gorgeous with flags, everyone is kissing in the streets and no one seems ashamed of it.