A time to re­mem­ber the fallen

Pause a minute for thanks

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

They grow not old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years con­demn.

At the go­ing down of the sun, and in the morn­ing, We will re­mem­ber them. They are words that we have all heard a lot over the years.

On Sun­day, they are set to have spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance, as Aus­tralia marks 100 years since the sign­ing of the Ar­mistice that ended World War I.

Re­mem­brance Day ser­vices through­out the coun­try, in­clud­ing one in Can­non­vale, will see us pause for a minute’s si­lence at 11am – ex­actly a cen­tury on from the end of the war that was sup­posed to end all wars.

All those who have served in the de­fence forces should be re­mem­bered on Sun­day.

Per­son­ally, I will be think­ing about my great great un­cle Michael “Ward” Rush who fought with the ANZACs in Gal­lipoli.

An Aus­tralian, he was too young to join the army here, so in­stead hopped on a ship to New Zealand, upped his age, and joined the army there.

He sur­vived Gal­lipoli and went on to fight for the New Zealan­ders else­where in that war.

When World War II started, he again joined up – this time for Aus­tralia. He also sur­vived that war. To­day he will be hon­oured with a NZ war grave in a cer­e­mony at a Mel­bourne ceme­tery. I will also re­mem­ber my other re­la­tions, in­clud­ing my great un­cle Leo Rush, who for years never much talked about his war ex­pe­ri­ences.

It was only when I lived in Dar­win that he re­vealed he had served there dur­ing the bomb­ing in World War II.

Dur­ing those times, the Aus­tralians were very un­der-pre­pared for the bomb­ings on Dar­win by the Ja­panese.

I heard sto­ries how when the planes were fly­ing over on bomb­ing raids, the Aus­tralians would point broom­sticks they had black­ened with ash from a fire up at the planes be­cause there were not enough guns.

Leo told me of an­other time he hid un­der a wa­ter tank on the Dar­win wharf dur­ing the bomb­ing raids on the town.

I will also re­mem­ber my mates who have fought in places like Af­gan­istan, Iraq and Ti­mor.

They were also part of the force that went into places like Aceh af­ter the 2004 Box­ing Day tsunami. Some of the things they have seen are hor­rific.

I will also re­mem­ber those vet­er­ans – from World War II, Viet­nam, Korea and Af­gan­istan – I have writ­ten sto­ries on over the years as part of my job: It is quite a priv­i­lege to be able to hear sto­ries first-hand from vet­er­ans.

Many have told me things they later ad­mit­ted they had never told any­one be­fore.

I can only hope my words do them jus­tice.

I will also re­mem­ber my friend’s daugh­ter who joined the army this year. Her ser­vice to Aus­tralia is ahead of her.

I re­mem­ber those who have died in wars, and those who have sadly taken their lives in years since – un­able to prop­erly deal with the hor­rors they have seen.

I will re­mem­ber them all.

PHOTO: MONIQUE PRE­STON

TIME TO RE­MEM­BER: Pop­pies are one of the sym­bols of Re­mem­brance Day.

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