Never Forget - Hastings Secondary College Students give us something to think about

10 Nov 2017

Students studying History at Hastings Secondary College shared their Remembrance Day Speeches with residents at Le Hamel Village.

By Ella Barnett

The 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month has obtained an important significance to the nations who fought in WW1. After four gruelling years of perpetual warfare, all guns on the Western Front fell silent and an armistice was secured. Since that day, and despite disagreements that divide our world, people all around the globe rather in spirit to remember the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives, were wounded or forced to continue their lives unwillingly with the mental and physical scars of war. For the remainder of us, was only ever seen through the camera lens or a TV screen, but although we were so physically and emotionally distant from these hero's, ware still impacted us all, no matter what our race, age or gender.

When we come together on that one day of the year, not only are we remembering the courage of these men and women; we are also recognising the freedom and rights that they fought for. We are remembering the fathers, daughters, lovers and sons that died for us, their families and a future they believed they could make a difference too. While writing this speech, I asked my mum what Remembrance Day meant to her.

She told me that my grant grandfather, and neighbour had both fought in WWII, along with that came even more stories; that she remembered her dad telling her how lucky his father was just because he had a piece of corrugated iron to sleep on while everyone else slept in the mud, and how he had been reunited with his family for just five minutes on a platform at Wallangarra Train Station on his way to Papua New Guinea.

She told me that we still have his diaries from all those Years spent at war, and though it gave her an insight to how he was feeling at the time, it did not describe even a fraction of what he had gone through or the experience that he had. Hearing these stories and how close to home they were made me realise that we don't have to look very far to see the sacrifices that have been made and the families that have been touched by war. For me, Remembrance Day means acknowledging the soldiers who have died for our country, as well as the thousands of other men and women that contributed in war.

It is about respecting the service and bravery of these people and thanking them for the sacrifices they have made for us to be who and where we are today.

By Jack Higgins

Remembrance Day to me means acknowledging the sacrifice made by the service men and women and families who not only dedicated four years of their lives to the First World War but who suffered from mental and physical wounds. Not only do we remember the fallen soldiers from the battlefronts of the First World War but we also remember all those that made sacrifices in all theatres of war.

This includes those who performed equally important roles such as nurses, doctors, chaplains, engineers, intelligence officers, Communication officers, pilots and naval personnel. These dedicated individuals believed in and fought for freedom, justice and liberation of others.

Remembrance Day also means never forgetting the families who suffered not only from the loss of other family members, who may have joined the army, navy or air force, but who suffered from the collateral damage of the war. The people and the families who were driven from their homes because of bombings, threats from invading forces and the misguided belief of oppressive rulers.

The innocent men and women who were killed not because they were a threat but because they had different religious and political beliefs or came from differing cultural backgrounds. My great grandad served in the British Expeditionary Forces during World War 1. His physical and mental scars from the time he spent in France not only affected him during the war but also once he came home.

When my great grandma passed away, he was in no condition to take care of my Nan and her two sisters. They were put into an orphanage and had very little contact with him. He never visited the orphanage. The scars of war can and do last a lifetime. We must never forget the sacrificed made on the battlefield or at home. War is hell. The consequences of war are hell.

Remembrance Day allows us, in fact gives us the privilege of recognising all of those sacrifices that many are forced to live with 365 days a year. Therefore, giving but one day a year to remember and acknowledge these sacrifices would seem like but a small concession in our lives that are predominantly untouched as those who have served and or have fallen in the protection of humanities freedom. Remembrance Day is about reflection.

As such on this day I personally reflect on not only the sacrifices of all those who have served in various capacities in the many theatres of war but also on the sacrifices that my own grandfather made. Although I never met him, I don't believe he would have necessarily understood the impact his sacrifices would've had on the citizens of his country, but also the impact of his descendants including myself. He was one of the many brave men and women and for that I will always remember. Lest We Forget.