Remembrance Day 2019 marks 101 years since the guns fell silent at the end of World War I, the so-called war to end all wars. Thank you to all who attended the Remembrance Day Ceremony at Currumbin RSL today.
The Gold Coast Tweed Pipe & Drums band commenced the Cross of Remembrance Ceremony playing ‘Amazing Grace’. The Australian Air Force Cadets 213 Squadron marched from the rear of the cenotaph to stand behind the headstone of The Unknown Soldier as a Cadet laid the Main White Cross at the headstone of the “unknown soldier known only to God” to put the Unknown Soldier to rest.
Mrs Bron Drinkwater, President of the War Widows then came forward and laid Crosses of Remembrance. Representing the community at large were Federal Member for McPherson – Karen Andrews, State Member for Currumbin – Jan Stuckey, Councillor Daphne McDonald, Councillor Gail O’Neil and Bill Hardy representing the Bali Bombings who all laid White Crosses of Remembrance. The remainder of the community were then invited to lay their crosses of Remembrance individually.
The Cadets Bearers of the Five National Flags – Great Britain, France, Canada, United States of America and New Zealand – marched in unison and positioned themselves creekside of the Cenotaph where they stood proudly for the rest of the ceremony.
President of Palm Beach Currumbin RSL Memorial Club, Michael Humphreys then read ‘In Flanders Fields’, a war poem in the form of a rondeau written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The VIP Wreathe Laying Ceremony then began. The Wreathe of the Nation was laid by Patron Mr David Freeman and Mr Andy Cullen laid the wreathe for the Bravest of the Brave. Ron Workman OAM laid a wreathe on behalf of Kevin ‘Dasher’ Wheatly VC (KIA 13/11/65), Peter Atkinson on behalf of Don Palmer OAM MID Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, Janelle Watt for the WWI August Band French Legion of Honour and Mr Bill Thompson on behalf of Currumbin RSL.
The representatives of the Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces then came forward to lay wreathes: Navy – Jim Stathis, Army – Carol Sinnitt, Air Force – Merv Reece and New Zealand Armed Forces – Zoe Cullen.
The National Wreaths were then laid by John Demsey (United Kingdom), Yolande McFarlane (France), Ray Weeks (Canada), New Zealand (Gail Donny) and Michelle Keenan (USA).
Mr Ron Workman OAM then read The Ode and The Last Post was played before the Navy Bell tolled and everyone was upstanding for one minute’s silence at 11am.
The Light Horseman moved to the centre of the Cenotaph and white doves were released.
Mr Humphreys said, “We collectively remember all who paid the supreme sacrifice in pursuit of world peace and we pay tribute to them for their service. For it is their service that allows us to maintain our hope for humanity and peace, never forget that the price of peace will always be eternal vigilance. We now say thank you to all who served their country.” The song ‘Thank you’ played and Mr Humphreys then read the poem ‘He is Gone’ before the Albert Battery prepared for the firing of the Volley of Remembrance.
The shots echoed across the creek and the smoke from the rifles melted into the haze in the sky from the bushfires currently burning across Queensland and northern NSW.
The ceremony concluded with the New Zealand and Australian national anthems and then guests walked down to the banks of the creek to see the RAAF C27 Flypast which roared along Currumbin Creek and directly over Currumbin RSL.
It was beautiful to see people from all generations paying their respects to those who have fallen. You can see Currumbin RSL Chef Dave on the top right corner with his grandson Benny looking with through the window with such intrigue that he doesn’t mind that his nose is completely squashed into the glass.
Lest We Forget.
Blog by Carmen Mudie