Our Say: Ultimate debt of gratitude that lasts forever

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

On his own, Corporal Arthur Hall rushed an advance enemy position, shot four occupants and captured nine others and two machine guns in Peronne in France on September 1,1918.

The next day, under a heavy artillery barrage, he carried a mate to safety.

Cpl Hall received the Victoria Cross for his exteme bravery. He survived the conflict and came home to our region.

He was only 19 years old when he enlisted in the “war to end all wars” at Dubbo just over two years earlier.

He became a hero on the battlefields of France.

So too did all Australians – recognised with medals or not – who fought on all fronts.

A total of 416,809 Austalians enlisted in a conflict, which the Australian War Museum says remains the costliest to our nation in terms of deaths and casualties with more than 60,000 killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.

Words like nightmare, horrific and their synonyms will never adequately describe the carnage in the trench warfare on the Western Front in the First World War.

The land turned into a bloodied moonscape and men were destroyed or damaged in an industrialised war fought with increasingly more powerful weapons – the side products of advances in technology of the era – raining down death.

The new death machines mowed men down by the thousands. On both sides of the conflict. The death and injury toll was staggering.

It was truly “hell on earth”.

Today, we again remember both the fallen and all those that served our nation.

It is the 99th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War.

Across the nation’s cities and small towns alike, people will visit the Cenotaphs and memorials to pay their respects and tributes to the brave men who put their daily lives and future plans on hold to serve Australia and went off to fight in foreign fields.

We should remember too the families and friends they left behind. They made sacrifices in their own way … so many losing loved ones in battle or who dealt with returning soldiers altered forever, physically or mentally, by their terrible experiences.

We owe all those Anzacs a debt of gratitude. We will show that those courageous individuals will not be forgotten.