WALTZING Matilda played in the background as marchers walked the short distance from the Sebastopol RSL Sub Branch Hall to the Cenotaph on Albert Street. A larger than usual crowd reflected on the sacrifices made by those who went to war, young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, and the sacrifice of those they left at home.
President (Rev) Bryan Nicholls conducted and Anzac Requiem saying in part, “On this day, above all days, we recall those who in the great tragedy of war gave their lives for Australia and those who died for the freedom of all people.
“We remember those who sleep beneath the ridges of Gallipoli and the terraced hills of Palestine, those who lie in cemeteries in France, Belgium and Russia, those who lie in the shimmering haze in the North African desert and the jungles of Malay, Singapore, New Guinea and the Pacific Islands; those who fought for the liberation of Europe, in Korea, Borneo, Vietnam and in their own land and the unknown resting places in every sea. We remember, also, those men and women who died in captivity.
“We also remember those gallant men and women who served and died in Somalia, the Gulf, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as pace keeping and humanitarian missions.” Mr Nicholls also spoke about the Anzac values of mateship, courage, endurance and sacrifice and how their defining characteristics have helped shaped the way we all see ourselves as Australians.
He also reflected on the life of Harry Leopold Coombs who was from a local Sebastopol family and enlisted at age 19. At the Ballarat Anzac Day commemoration a large crowd also gathered and reflected. The ceremony was concluded with a release of pigeons, representing the animals that had died in wars.