Veterans mark Remembrance Day in Canberra

Colin Brinsden
(Australian Associated Press)


A minute’s silence has been marked across Australia to commemorate the nation’s fallen service men and women.

Governor-General David Hurley marked the occasion with his first Remembrance Day address at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

The former army general and one-time chief of the Defence Force used his speech to honour Cecil Healy, the nation’s only Olympic gold medallist to have died at war.

“Cecil Healy had no love of the military,” he said of the swimmer on Monday.

“No desire to fight. But he recognised that his values and his freedom was threatened.

“Reluctantly, he chose to serve, fully understanding the risk contained in that decision.

“In that, he is an example to us today.”

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, acting for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, laid a wreath and recited poetry to mark the fallen.

Also in attendance were Speaker of the House of Representatives Tony Smith, Senate President Scott Ryan, Labor leader Anthony Albanese and his deputy, Richard Marles.

The ceremony, under a bright Canberra spring sun and slight breeze, also featured Able Seaman Braidon Newman – a Wiradyuri man of Nhunnunawal descent – playing the didgeridoo.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marks when Germany signed a truce in France in 1918, ending the First World War, which was hoped to be “the war to end all wars”.

While Australia had not been a nation for long, 416,000 people enlisted in that war and 60,000 never returned home.

Originally called Armistice Day, the 100th Remembrance Day service was commemorated in 2018.

Britain held its memorial services and tributes on Sunday.

Among other countries that recognise Remembrance Day are Canada, New Zealand, Belgium, France and the United States, where it is called Veterans Day.


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