Anzac speech shines light on memorial

THE many hundreds of people who attended the Nowra Anzac Day service were treated to a poignant speech that drew attention to the importance of the town’s war memorial.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Calhoun commanding officer of the Parachute Training School at HMAS Albatross took those gathered on a journey of conflicts around the world.

But he brought it all back to Nowra when he shared the history attached to the memorial that stands at the top of Junction Street.

The following words are excerpts from his speech:

“I wish to use this address to share some of the history of this community’s sacrifice. I would also like to reinforce the importance of these memorials, which sometimes, although not in this case are at risk of being overshadowed by developments.

“Australian graves are scattered across 41 countries around the globe.

“In all 23,000 Australian dead were never recovered. Their names are displayed at our National War Memorial, but most poignantly they are noted in places like this to preserve their memory locally. Those listed are mostly the fallen, but some monuments, like this one, include all who served from the district and includes the wounded, this is unique to Australia.

“Turning to this community, 329 local men enlisted along with three physicians and three nurses.  Seventy never came home and for many families this monument is the only gravestone they knew. It was erected in 1931, so for many it was 16 years before they had a place to come and grieve.”

Lieutenant Colonel Calhoun finished by listing many of the well-known local names on the memorial’s inscription.

“Their sacrifices and the world we live in today make me not sad that they died, but grateful that they lived. They are one of us,” he said.

“When you see this memorial and others like it, think about what they symbolise and take a moment to reflect.

“Lest we forget.”

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