Special day of remembrance

FRIDAY marks the 93rd anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War and part of the Gympie ceremony will be the unveiling of a plaque to Corporal Ashley Birt.

"In Gympie we will feel the hurt with the loss of one of our own, Cpl Ashley Birt, whose funeral will held in Gympie on Monday, November 14," president of Gympie RSLA sub-branch Frank Bontoft said.

Each year we observe one minute's silence to remember those who suffered or paid the supreme sacrifice in all wars or conflicts since. Before Remembrance Day, the RSL conducts a poppy appeal to raise funds for its welfare work in supporting former service men and women and their families. Poppies will be on sale at the entrance to Memorial Lane in Mary St today from 8am.

"The beginnings of this appeal go back to 1915 to a poem written by a Canadian army doctor John McCrae, who wrote 'In Flanders Fields the poppies blow between the crosses row on row'.

"It is sad to realise that these young men would never return home and the hurt and anguish it would cause their loved ones at home. World War One was said to be the war that ended all wars but sadly our country is still fighting in the latest conflict, Afghanistan where we recently lost three Australian soldiers and seven wounded."

Mr Bontoft said in the past the RSL had rules that "alienated" many former servicemen and women.

"In the last 30 years it has become a more enlightened and compassionate organisation that now embraces all who have worn the Australian uniform in defence of our nation," he said.

"To those who in the past felt unwelcome... and I was one of you, I say let the past be the past and come and join us."

Gympie's memorial service will be in Memorial Lane at the Eternal Flame at 10.30am Friday.

Gympie Times


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