ANZAC spirit is very much alive

Members of Cobar’s Anzac Day official party Cobar RSL Sub Branch president Kain Neale with Australian Navy guests Lieutenant Commander Gean Campbell and Captain Micheal Jacobson with Cobar’s mayor Peter Abbott on Sunday.

Cobar RSL Sub Branch president Kain Neale said it was evident the ANZAC spirit is still very much alive and well after a good crowd turned out for the local Anzac Day commemoration events in Cobar on Sunday.
In addition to a large contingent of locals marching this year, a good crowd of residents lined the main street on Sunday morning to pay their respects to those who have served and also to those who continue to serve our country.
Marching alongside veterans and wives and descendants of veterans this year were representatives from the three schools, Cobar’s police and emergency services, as well as members of community and sporting groups.
Special guests at this year’s Anzac Day services were Australian Navy Captain Micheal Jacobson and his wife Lieutenant Commander Gean Campbell, who are based in Canberra.
Captain Jacobson is the Director of Submarine Development and a former Commander of the HMAS Rankin Submarine, which is named after Cobar-born Lieutenant Commander Robert Rankin who served and died in World War II.
In his Anzac Day address Captain Jacobson spoke about the first ANZACs along with others who have served after them.
“These men did not set out to be immortalized,” Captain Jacobson said of the first AN-ZACs.
“But their conduct on that day—and over subsequent months—has made them immortal.” Captain Jacobson said Anzac Day not only honours the ANZAC soldiers of World War I, but it was also a time to acknowledge and re-member those who have followed in the AN-ZAC tradition, through WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, on UN Peace Keeping Missions and on other operations.
“These people have offered themselves in the service of our nation, and in the service of peace and justice,” Captain Jacobson said.
He recounted the bravery of Lieutenant Commander Rankin when under fire from the Japanese enemy and his efforts to protect not only his HMAS Yarra crew, but also those on another three ships in his escort.
“Today we are thankful that Australians have fought and died for peace and justice, for the sort of society where we don’t fear being locked up for our opinions, for the sort of society where no-one is held in contempt or viewed as worthless on account of gender, or race, or belief or some other difference.”
In his Anzac Day speech Mayor Peter Abbott spoke about the “genuine respect” he had observed that Australians showed for WWI and WWII veterans when he was growing up.
Cr Abbott said he was however appalled that this respect was also not automatically given to returning Vietnam vets who were “treated disgracefully upon return to home soil”.
“I don’t recall the soldiers involved being given a choice in where they were sent,’ Cr Abbott said.
“It took a long time for them to finally be given the respect and honour they deserved.”
Cr Abbott said over the years returning de-fence personnel continue to be poorly treated with the incidences of suicide among veterans very high.
“There is no difference in courage and dedication from veterans through the generations,” he said.
Cr Abbott said he had been one of the lucky ones in the national conscription “birthday ballot” introduced in 1964 and he wasn’t sent to serve in the Vietnam War.
Cr Abbott praised all those who did, and all those who have served before and after, and thanked them for their service.