President of the RSL Sub Branch of Cobar Ben Hewlett was very encouraged by the number of locals who chose to attend last Wednesday’s Remembrance Day public service in Drummond Park.
“This is a fantastic turnout for a Remembrance Day service.
“You have come to this service because you wanted to, not because you had to,” Mr Hewlett said in his address.
He said while it was mandatory in many communist countries for their citizens to attend various marches, parades and services, Australians were lucky enough to live in a country where they had the liberty to choose what they wanted to do.
In his speech, which in this Gallipoli centenary year had a focus on World War I, Mr Hewlett said this “liberty” had firstly been fought for and earned by the more than 416,000 Australian men and women who fought in the Great War (WWI).
“This was an enormous contribution for such a relatively tiny and new country,” he said.
Of the total of 416,809 men and women who signed up to serve their country, 60,000 never returned and 156,000 were gassed, injured or held as prisoners of war.
“No one is left from World War I to tell the story.
“Everyone here today are now the custodians of this tradition,” Mr Hewlett said.
At the service memorial wreaths were laid by various groups, school children and individuals with Cobar High School student Makaila Gordon presenting a reading which explained why the poppy flower had been chosen as a Remembrance Day symbol.
RSL Sub Branch of Cobar vice president Chris Boucher read the ode and Lane Poland led the singing of the national anthem.
Also as part of this year’s service Mr Hewlett made a special presentation to local woman Sally Robinson to acknowledge her many years of volunteer service to the RSL.
At the conclusion of the service Mr Hewlett advised the sub branch had been conducting a fundraising effort this year to construct a new World War I monument and he hoped it would be completed in time for next year’s Remembrance Day service.