The City held a Remembrance Day Service this morning with Subiaco-Shenton Park RSL at the Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial in Rankin Gardens to commemorate and remember those who died or suffered in war and armed conflicts.
The service was well attended by the community with wreaths laid on the memorial by guests, including Subiaco-Shenton Park RSL President Peter Hopper, Mayor David McMullen, students from Subiaco, Jolimont and Rosalie Primary schools, and students from Bob Hawke College.
As well as a flyover, Jolimont Primary student Milana Mohes read an original poem and Subiaco Primary School Choir sung ‘This Remembrance Day’.
The service was followed by a morning tea outside Subiaco Museum which opened early for the occasion.
Subiaco-Shenton Park RSL Sub Branch President Peter Hopper gave a very moving speech:
“The war memorial behind me, also known as the Fallen Soldiers' Memorial, was opened in November 1923 – five years after the end of the First World War. It is rather unique because it contains the names of 290 servicemen and women from Subiaco who lost their lives through participating in both the First and Second World Wars. There would be very few such war memorials in Australia containing such personal information. The average age of these 290 was 27 and it is these people who take pride of place in our minds on a day like this. They are, however, not just names, they reflect dreams abandoned, lives without purpose, women without husbands, families without family life, one long national funeral for a generation and more after 1918.
Remembrance Day was originally called Armistice Day because it was the day when the First World War came to an end in 1918. Since then it has become a name encompassing all the wars and conflicts that have since followed. Sadly this year we can add yet another war to the long list; in September the war in Afghanistan came to a halt as our troops along with the Americans departed after participating in a lengthy and difficult conflict. They then took part in assisting the evacuation of thousands of Afghans who fled the country in the final days.
Today therefore we need to spare a thought for what these servicemen and women have suffered through their participation in this conflict. They deserve our full support for having done their best in most trying circumstances.
My key emphasis today is however on the word ‘respect’. I fear it is a word that is losing its appeal in today's society. Too often we read about examples of a lack of respect being shown towards our police, school teachers, nurses, and countless other important community figures. A society becomes dysfunctional when there is a complete lack of respect.
To begin with you need to have self-respect and then a respect for the rights of others. This encompasses tolerance and understanding, key elements in a democratic society. By valuing respect we can ensure that dignity is valued in society. We owe it to all those who served, suffered and died in war and armed conflict to value this concept. They fought against regimes that were undemocratic and did not respect the rights of individuals.
We began this service by paying our respects to the Whadjak people, the traditional custodians of the land we are now meeting on. This is also a good opportunity for us to now acknowledge and recognise all the indigenous men and women who served in our armed forces. Many of them were treated poorly after they returned home and were not given the respect and recognition they deserved.”