Gregor Mactaggart, Michelle Slater, Liam Durkin and Alyssa Fritzlaff
PEOPLE across the Latrobe Valley took pause and paid their respects on Remembrance Day.
Each year on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month since the end of World War I, Australians take in a minute’s silence to remember the service and sacrifice of the country’s servicemen and women.
Sunny skies ensured good crowds in attendances at services throughout the region, including Traralgon, Morwell, Moe and Trafalgar.
With COVID restrictions meaning it was unable to stage a service at the cenotaph, the Traralgon RSL played host to a service attended by about 150 people.
Traralgon RSL sub-branch president Ron Culliver said Remembrance Day offered the chance for reflection and to honour the memory of the fallen.
“Remembrance Day is a day for us to remember those soldiers who didn’t come back and the families left behind,” Mr Culliver said.
“It is still important as ever today, with conflicts in more recent times such as Vietnam, the Gulf War and Afghanistan.
“This is a significant day for the club … this service is three months in the planning.”
Mr Culliver told The Express it was heartening to see the true meaning of Remembrance Day spread through the generations.
A number of students from Traralgon College were on hand at the service to lay a wreath.
“It is great to see the significance of what Remembrance Day stands for resonating with the younger people,” Mr Culliver said.
Another teenager Madeleine Whiting did a fine job playing The Last Post, while Mr Culliver’s rendition of The Ode of Remembrance and Pastor Randall Green also added to the service.
Following the service, a number of ex-servicemen, including 4th/19 Armoured Regiment (Prince of Wales Light Horse) members Lieutenant Colonel Doug Caulfield (r), Sergeant Rob Timmers (r) and Sergeant Brian Soall, laid wreaths at the Traralgon cenotaph.
“There has been a large elevation in the stature of Remembrance Day through the years and to see many people paying their due respect today is significant,” Sgt Timmers said.
Morwell RSL held a small service for Remembrance Day this year inside the RSL building.
Treasurer Bill Hall conducted the service.
Those in attendance included RSL members, veterans, police officers, and primary school representatives.
Ensuring they adhered to COVIDSafe practices at all times, chairs were spaced throughout the room.
Morwell RSL sub-branch president Wayne Hutchinson explained that the service was strategically ran in front of the window overlooking the cenotaph outside.
Attendees were invited to lay tributes on a stand at the front of the room.
After the service concluded, the wreaths laid inside were transferred to their usual place at the cenotaph.
Outdoor patrons at the Moe RSL Remembrance Day service held their own private minute’s silence when the clock ticked over to 11am.
Around 30 to 40 people were in attendance, as a number of wreaths were laid by RSL members and the public to pay their respects.
Inside, an official service was held by Moe RSL members and dignitaries.
Although the service was unlike what is generally seen, Moe RSL president Steve Mayes said the significance of Remembrance Day was not diminished because of the restrictions in place.
“It is a very important day for the Moe RSL and in fact all RSL’s across Australia,” he said.
“We’re quite humbled about the number of people that have turned up.
“Regardless of the generations or age everyone seems to understand what Remembrance Day is all about.”
Mr Mayes proudly wore his cadet officer medals from his more than decade-long service at the Newborough depot, and his father George’s medals from World War II.
About 70 people including local school children, community members and former diggers turned out to the Trafalgar RSL to commemorate when the guns went quiet on the Western Front.
The 11am service was held outside with attendees complying by COVID regulations.
The branch went on to hold a midday service at the Thorpdale RSL.
Trafalgar/Thorpdale RSL president Jim Crowe said “it meant everything” to hold a service after being restricted to 10 people last year.
“Remembrance Day is a time to reflect and remember the sacrifice our soldiers made. It’s most important that young ones remember there were people who spilt blood for this country,” Mr Crowe said.
“We owe a lot to our soldiers.”