Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Never forget

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91 years ago today the guns fell silent on the bloodshed that we refer to was World War I. As a result Australia lost almost 60,000 killed and over 150,000 wounded which represented 65% of those who embarked for war. As a percentage this is greater than other nations such as Britain and Canada whose commitment (and losses) were also significant.

 

It is not until you experience the country side in which a great many of these losses were sustained, do you appreciate how different the world is today from that time 91 years ago when simply surviving each day was a monumental feat. It is only then that you begin to contemplate what a different world it could have been if they had not gone to war, perhaps naively. Even after experiencing the horrors of war most continued to serve with distinction, which for most people today is simply unbelievable.

 

Relic of Mon St Quentin at the Australian War Memorial

 

We owe a huge debt to these people who have fought and died in all wars to protect the land and lifestyle we now simply take for granted. Of all the locations where Australians have actively participated in military actions none, for me, stands out like the battle of Mon St Quentin on the 30th of August 1918. It is here that we were awarded 8 Victoria Crosses, the highest decoration that can be bestowed on soldiers, yet ask any Australian today and is unlikely that have even heard of the action. To me, that is simply wrong. To me, this is not good enough. To me, we must never forget their sacrifices and the sacrifices of all our soldiers.

 

If you do nothing else to remember the day the guns feel silent then spend a moment and read about, in my opinion, a battle that demonstrated what courage and determination were all about. In essence, understand the remarkable achievements Australians made over 90 years ago and in doing so never let their memory fade. Never let their contribution go unrecognized and at the going down of the sun say we shall remember them.

 

For more information about the Australian Battlefields of World War One – France see my web site www.ciaops.com/guides/battle. Click on the link 1918 to view the battle of Mon St Quentin.