When Lismore ex-serviceman Bob Mowle addresses the City of Lismore RSL Sub-Branchs Remembrance Day ceremony this Saturday, November 11, hell be wondering how many locals, particularly younger ones, are unaware that one or more of their relatives have served in a war.
Bob, the president of the Sub-Branch, said he thought of this as he counted the names of those Australians killed in wars on the Roll of Honour at the Lismore War Memorial this week.
There are 183 names alone of those who died in World War I and 203 names on the World War II roll so how many families in this area were affected? he said. Today there must be kids related to many who served who are possibly unaware of their connections to the memorial here. This is the main reason Remembrance Day has to be kept as a solemn and important day to remember those who served.
The 70-year-old former airforce officer who enlisted in the RAAF in 1966 and retired as a wing commander in 1991, said his own family had extensive links to servicemen and women which were unknown to some of the younger generation of his clan.
A couple of months ago my young grand-daughter Madeleine started asking her dad, my son Damien, about these connections and was told a lot of her family were involved, Bob said. There were uncles, cousins, grandfathers, a great grandfather, my brother and brother-in-law, which she learnt all had military service. So there were enormous connections there, but we would be typical of many, many families in Australia, he said.
Bob, whose late father Roy served in the 6th Light Horse Brigade in the Middle East in World War I and in the Service Corps in Papua New Guinea in World War II, said that during each Remembrance Day ceremony his emotions were a mix of hope and colossal sadness.
Just imagine if the whole world could have enjoyed the fruits of the intellect and work ethic of all those poor buggers who died in those conflicts, Bob said. We dont know how many potential carpenters, plumbers, engineers, scientists and politicians were among them and what they could have achieved, or how many women were denied the chance of motherhood. Youre conscious of this but at the same time Armistice Day, as it used to be called, must have signalled incredible hope, especially with World War I seen as the war to end all wars.
That war claimed the lives of 61,000 Australians while 155,000 of the 416,000 who served returned injured. As always, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month a minutes silence will be observed to honour all the people who served and those who paid the supreme sacrifice.
Bob said now more than ever he was a great believer in working towards tolerance to make the world a better place.
Having served in the Middle East on peacekeeping duties, Im convinced all these conflicts arise from a lack of tolerance and lack of understanding, he said. We should all work towards understanding others opinions and be tolerant to those points of view.
Bob will proudly wear his and his dads service medals at Lismores Remembrance Day ceremony and wreath laying, which will take place this Saturday, November 11, at the Lismore War Memorial at 10.30am.
Other services happening around the region on Saturday include:
Ballina: Meet at the Ballina War Memorial (opposite the Ballina RSL Club) at 10.50am.
Alstonville: Meet at Elizabeth Anne Brown Park in Wardell Road at 10.50am.
Casino: Meet at the Mafeking Lamp in Walker Street at 10.45am.
Coraki: Meet at the Coraki War Memorial in Richmond Terrace at 10.30am.
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