Ninety-nine years on we have not, and will never, forget them

TRIBUTE: Paying respects at the Dubbo Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, November 11, 2016. Photo: FILE
TRIBUTE: Paying respects at the Dubbo Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, November 11, 2016. Photo: FILE

In perfect stillness at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month thousands of people will gather across the state to mark Remembrance Day.

Saturday also marks the 99th  anniversary of the Armistice that saw the guns of the Western Front fall silent ending the First World War after four long years.

The memory of our fallen resonates in a region like Dubbo, where brave Australians left home to answer the call to serve their country. Servicemen like Corporal Arthur Hall, who enlisted in Dubbo, on the April 3, 1916 at the tender age of nineteen.

Remembrance Day is a time to remember soldiers like Cpl Hall, who received a Victoria Cross for action on the September 1 and 2, 1918 in Peronne, France. Cpl Hall single-handedly rushed an advance position, shooting four of the occupants as well as capturing nine others and two machine guns. The next day he carried a mate to safety during a heavy barrage. Cpl Hall survived the war, returning to Nyngan to run sheep and cattle. His story lives on as a chapter in the Anzac Legacy.

The State’s ongoing gratitude for the service and sacrifice by these men and women will be expressed in a new artwork for Sydney’s Anzac memorial being undertaken as part of NSW’s Centenary of Anzac commemorations.

Soil from the 1699 NSW locations where soldiers enlisted for the Great War is being collected for the completed artwork, which will be displayed in the new Hall of Service within the underground extension to the Anzac Memorial, the key legacy project.

The public also has an opportunity to support NSW’s principal memorial and honour the Anzac Legacy through the Anzac Memorial Star campaign. In 1934 the RSL launched a fundraising campaign selling stars in the Memorial’s Great Dome to raise money. Continuing this tradition you can now purchase virtual stars on the Memorial’s website.

I encourage all to consider being part of this unique campaign to honour veterans as we approach the centenary of Anzac in 2018.

Lest we forget.