Kei wareware tatou – Lest we forget

Thousands of people gathered at war memorials across the district on Anzac Day last week to remember the fallen and reflect on the sacrifice they made.

The dawn services and mid-morning community gatherings were held in near-perfect conditions, and attracted people of all ages, from all walks of life.

At the service in Leigh, former politician and diplomat Sir Jim McLay touched on a familiar theme when he spoke about the peace that the soldiers fought for.

“Peace is not simply the absence of war,” he said. “Real peace is much more – it’s accompanied by an unavoidable set of values, including freedom from tyranny, freedom from fear, access to safe food and water, freedom from poverty, freedom from preventable disease, freedom to learn, freedom to speak one’s mind and the freedom to choose our political leaders.

“That’s real peace. It’s the real peace for which men and women died in world wars and regional conflicts, but sadly today, while we enjoy that peace, there are still countless million who do not.”

At the Puhoi service, long-time Puhoi resident Larry Mitchell paid tribute to all those who had fought and lost loved ones, and in particular recalled his Uncle, Lawrence Mitchell, who died during World War II. He read from the last entry in his uncle’s diary, believed to be the last words he wrote: “A lot of the chaps seem to be getting it these days and it brings home to one the brutalness of war.”