We Will Remember Them

Today our nation will pause to remember those whom we should never forget.

In 1918, on 11 November at 11am, after more than four years of continuous battle, the Western Front fell silent. The German army, after a series of heavy defeats at the hands of the Allied forces, called for a suspension of fighting to secure a peace settlement.

Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of this armistice which ended the First World War (1914 -1918). What began as two minutes silence to remember the end of a war that claimed over 60,000 Australian lives now remembers all those who have fallen on the battlefield in service of their country.

On the first anniversary of the armistice, it was proposed by an Australian and South African that two minutes silence be observed to commemorate those who gave all. This was endorsed by King George V to “mark the victory of Right and Freedom.”

One year later, additional significance was attached to Armistice Day with the return of the remains of an unknown soldier from the Western Front. Interred with full military honours in Westminster Abbey, over one million people paid their respects the following week.

It took a further 73 years for the remains of one of Australia’s fallen to be ceremonially entombed at the Australian War Memorial on 11 November at 11am. The traditional two minutes silence was observed in towns and cities all over the country, as we remembered not only the unknown soldier, but everyone who gave their lives for our freedom.

Today, in a modification from the original tradition, we observe a one minute silence to remember those who died in war for Australia’s cause. In a nation of abundance, where peace is accepted as normal, where democracy is king and we are free from tyranny, today we should all take sixty seconds to remember.

In those sixty seconds we should contemplate what might have been had it not been for the actions of our brave service men and women. We should pray for comfort for those who have lost a son, a husband or a father in the service of our nation. We should remember too the women who have bravely served our nation and paid the ultimate price.

At 11am every Australian has a patriotic duty to remember them.

Lest we forget.

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