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Remembrance Day services: Time for reflection

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By Colin MacGillivray

PEOPLE across the Mitchell, Macedon Ranges and Whittlesea municipalities will pause to reflect on the sacrifice of Australia’s servicemen and women this Friday as the nation marks Remembrance Day.

Observed on November 11 each year, Remembrance Day began as a commemoration of soldiers who died during World War One, but has become a broader memorial to armed forces members who have died in the line of duty around the world.

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The Returned and Services League, RSL, is a support organisation for all ex-Australian Defence Force personnel and their families, and organises Remembrance Day services each year.

Kilmore Wallan RSL sub-branch president Rod Dally said it was important for the community to participate in Remembrance Day to pass on its message to younger generations.

“A lot of the younger ones don’t have no idea what Remembrance Day means, although that is slowly changing,” he said.

“Some of the local schools understand what it’s about and they go out of their way to teach it. The kids often find out a lot when they come to a service.

“Even if a kid says ‘what are we doing here dad?’ they’ll get told, and I think that’s really good.”

Mr Dally said numbers at RSL events were slowly rebounding after COVID-19 disrupted services in 2020 and 2021.

He said the purpose of Remembrance Day was not to glorify war, but to understand the sacrifice made by soldiers.

“Our members have been to Vietnam, Afghanistan, Somalia and other places. We see first-hand what war does,” he said.

“We don’t like wars. None of us like them and we’d do anything we could to avoid one, but you can’t accept freedom – sometimes you have to stand up and fight for it.

“I believe the vast majority of military personnel don’t join to fight. They join for a career as mechanics or any number of other jobs. But if they are asked to fight, they are prepared to.”

Kilmore Wallan RSL will host services at Kilmore’s Hudson Park cenotaph and Wallan’s Hadfield Park cenotaph, both starting at 10.45am.

The sub-branch is encouraging as many members of the public and school children to attend services as possible.

Sub-branch members will also visit St Patricks Primary School Kilmore, BlueCross Willowmeade and Kilmore District Health’s Caladenia and Dianella aged care services to support residents unable to attend a service at a cenotaph.

Seymour RSL president Andrew Cox said the sub-branch’s hall was spared from flooding that struck the town last month, although several members were affected.

The Seymour Remembrance Day service will be at the Seymour Health memorial gates at the corner of Callen and Brettoneux streets from 10.30am.

Whittlesea RSL sub-branch will host its ceremony at the Whittlesea Memorial Arch at the corner of Walnut and Forest streets, Whittlesea, commencing at 10.45am.

Romsey Lancefield RSL will host a commemoration at the Lancefield War Memorial cenotaph, with a service, flag raising and wreath laying from 10.45am.

There will be no official service at the Romsey cenotaph, although people are welcome to lay wreaths during the day.

People wanting more information about any of the services can contact Daniel Burford, Kilmore Wallan RSL secretary on 0418 808 040; Andrew Cox, Seymour RSL president on 0435 107 599; Denys Potts, Whittlesea RSL secretary at den.bet1@bigpond.com; or Romsey Lancefield RSL president Reinhard Goschiniak on 0419 375 060.

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