THE IMPORTANCE of Remembrance Day was placed before expressing disappointment over the exclusion of a catafalque party yesterday at the Dubbo service.
The absence of Army Reservists surrounding the Victoria Park cenotaph as a mark of respect to the fallen was a noticeable difference in the ceremony attended by over 300 people.
Budget cuts at the Department of Defence have been blamed for Dubbo not having a catafalque party for the first time in the city’s Remembrance Day service history.
Attention was not drawn to this during the ceremony by Dubbo RSL Sub Branch president Tom Gray who, before Remembrance Day, had commented about the issue.
There was no other mention during the ceremony about the missing catafalque party.
After the Remembrance Day ceremony yesterday Mr Gray chose to focus on the strong attendance numbers at Victoria Park.
“It was a shame we couldn’t have a catafalque party but we did have a good roll out from the public and of servicemen,” he said.
Mr Gray said it was important to reflect on the sacrifice by servicemen and women of past conflicts but also for Australians who have been lost and others who are still fighting in Afghanistan.
“We pray for them as well,” he said.
There was strong participation in the ceremony by Dubbo youth as they attended with relatives, represented their school or were members of the Air Force Cadets or the Australian Air League.
Sara-May Bruce from Dubbo North Public School read her winning poem from the Dubbo RSL Sub Branch competition, Australia My Country, before the end of the ceremony.
Miss Bruce’s poem explored the Gallipoli campaign by the Anzacs in World War I.
Dubbo RSL Sub Branch school liaison officer Ron Stevens said the competition helped children engage with wartime history.
“Most of them show a remarkable understanding of the particular campaign they are writing about whether it is World War I, World War II or Afghanistan,” he said.
There were about 100 entries across the various sections of the competition with the students given three months to complete their piece of poetry.
More of the younger generation were seen at the ceremony with about 20 members of the Australian Air Force Cadets 313 Squadron City of Dubbo taking part and just under 10 members of the Australian Air League City of Dubbo Squadron.
Student representatives from schools in the city laid wreaths alongside Dubbo organisations.