Reliving memories of war heroes
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.