ON Saturday morning Ballarat paused to remember the 99th anniversary of the Armistice, in memory of all those who have died in all wars.
The sun was shining, the breeze gentle, and a far cry from the image on the front page of the order of Remembrance Day service booklet – the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres 31 July – 10 November 1917).
Guest speaker at the service was Keith Lanyon, current president of the Ballarat branch of the Air Force Association.
“Ninety-nine years ago the guns in Europe fell silent.
This was the end of the war to end all wars,” Mr Lanyon commenced.
“There was a great determination to never again go to war.
The League of Nations was established; the Treaty of Versailles was negotiated and signed; subsequent disarmament and peace movements saw great battleships cut up for scrap.” In less than 21 years those guns were roaring again and the beginning of an even bigger war, with even more terrible weapons and indiscriminate in effect and with unimaginable reach and power.
Mr Lanyon spoke of the past touched on current issues saying, “Here we stand on this day and we are under threat from a tiny nation on the other side of the world, which pours its resources in to nuclear weapons.
What happens if they attack? “The Middle East is still smouldering with its occasional eruptions into conflict.
“I put before you a personal approach, which changes focus from the structures and rules of institutional action to that which is in my range, a focus on finding peace, making peace, a pursuit of what should be and I must be the one who makes the start.
“Make a personal quest for peace and don’t underestimate the power of personal issues.
“Peace means knowing what is good and practicing good and being able to live with ourselves when we don’t get it right.
It’s not about trying to force others to behave , it’s about finding peace with myself and my circumstances, and peace demands the practice of forgiveness – forgiving and being forgiven – and forgiveness doesn’t mean you feel good about it, it means you decided to forego the right to get even.”