Photography by James McPherson.
On a perfect Spring Day in Melbourne, RSL Victoria hosted the annual State Remembrance Service at the Springvale Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery.
It was the 38th consecutive annual commemorative service, with the first held at the cemetery in 1985 as an initiative of the Springvale RSL Sub-Branch.
The service continues to provide a tangible link to the relatives, friends and wartime comrades who have been part of our lives in times gone by.
In his opening address, RSL Victoria President Dr Robert Webster OAM said World War One and Two touched the lives of all Australians regardless of age, race or social class.
“Fathers, sons, daughters, sweethearts: they were killed in action, they were wounded and thousands who returned were forced to live the rest of their lives with the physical and mental scars of war.”
He said the Australians who went off to war in distant lands did so in the belief that life as they knew it back home was under threat.
“By remembering their service and their sacrifice, we recognise the tradition of freedom these men and women fought to preserve. They believed that their actions in the present would make a significant difference for the future, but it is up to us to ensure that their dream of peace is realised.”
Several dignitaries were in attendance, including politicians and Defence Force representatives.
Guest speaker, Dr Bart Ziino, a senior lecturer in history at Deakin University, said that gathering in the cemetery should remind us not just of the sacrifices of those who went away, but also of those who remained to mourn and remember them.
“Remembrance Day commemorates the sacrifice of those who died serving their country. We rightly mark such a loss to our nation. But it was also once much clearer than it is today that Remembrance Day is also a time in which to acknowledge the sacrifice of those left behind to mourn—a grief that long exceeds the duration of wars themselves. It is not enough to remember the dead if we cannot see the pain of those who lived to mourn them.”
The service included a flyover by military aircraft from 32 Squadron East Sale, Catafalque Party, the laying of wreathes and readings by three high school students.