Stories a source of inspiration
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.