Re­liv­ing mem­o­ries of war he­roes

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - with Steve Price steve. price@ townsvillebulletin. com. au

I RE­MEM­BER it so well. The sea of new faces to our city, well- lived and wise, and full of the joy of friend­ship.

They ar­rived by train – as they did over 50 years be­fore – their eyes glowed with the light of fond mem­o­ries, the search for old friends and places, and the ex­cite­ment of re­liv­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary mo­ments so long ago. We gave them all of that and more.

I know, be­cause I was there. There was so much to ex­cite the senses of a time of in­cred­i­ble sad­ness, and then of ex­al­ta­tion – it was war and it was the end of war, that’s what we recre­ated, and in our city we did it bril­liantly.

VP50 and VP60 were two of the best com­mem­o­ra­tions ever cre­ated in our coun­try, and that’s a fact.

I re­mem­ber meet­ing the troop train, the sound, the colour, the tears and the recog­ni­tion, then the hugs of long lost friends.

In Townsville, we were the theatre, we were the stage and on three oc­ca­sions even part of the show, of the Pa­cific cam­paign of World War II.

Ev­ery night at seven, the search­lights would come on atop Cutheringa, the sound­track of life and war would come on 4TO at the very same time. Ev­ery­where there was laugh­ter, sto­ries shared and lost friends re­mem­bered.

We had a recre­ation of the Peace An­nounce­ment in our great mall, many thou­sands were there.

I was host­ing and stood next to the mayor on the bal­cony of the now Speck­led Hen as we an­nounced the ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties in the Pa­cific.

The con­certs, the din­ners, the war sto­ries told in his­tor­i­cal places, the in­cred­i­ble sky show and more, noth­ing comes close.

All of us joined in the fes­tiv­i­ties and, of course, were a part of the mem­o­ries of a time long past.

It’s gone. But mem­o­ries live on. The ranks of those who came 20 years ago have thinned but a few re­main to re­mem­ber a great city dur­ing a not so great time in history, but that doesn’t mean we should for­get.

So in Au­gust, VP70, cer­tainly not as it’s been, but three days is on of­fer for those who re­main and the great news is so far we have 220, in­clud­ing a 92year- old lady fly­ing out from Eng­land.

There’s a march on the Satur­day morn­ing that we’d love you to come to and say a fi­nal thankyou, there will not be another.

With a visit from a five- star US Gen­eral, a march­ing band and even a B52, it will be a most ex­tra­or­di­nary time. Imag­ine, some of the last souls of a gen­er­a­tion past who along with their mates saved us from a life a lot dif­fer­ent to what we en­joy to­day.

VP70, Au­gust 14,15,16. Come live the mem­ory. Happy days.

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