pm says freedom must be preserved as australians remember great war

PM says freedom must be preserved as Australians remember Great War

Australia

At the National War Memorial in Canberra a minute’s silence was held at 11 o’clock, the moment the guns fell silent on November 11th, 1918.

Addressing the national service in the country’s capital, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the service of 400,000 Australians during World War One must not be forgotten.

Personal messages are seen amongst the poppies on the Roll of Honour during Remembrance Day at the Australian War Memorial, in Canberra.

Personal messages are seen amongst the poppies on the Roll of Honour during Remembrance Day at the Australian War Memorial, in Canberra.

AAP

“War is always a failure of our humanity and yet there are time when even the most peaceful of men and women are called upon to defend the beliefs they live by,” he said.

“And there have been too many such times over the course of the past century. This is not to say our reflections on those conflicts must be unquestioning, but the sacrifice demands that we reflect, ponder, and learn from every conflict because that’s what free societies like Australia do.”

Australia has no veterans left who fought in the Great War, but many who have fought since are gathering to remember their mates.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and war widows Meg Green and Gwen Cherne lay wreaths during Remembrance Day at the Australian War Memorial, in Canberra.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and war widows Meg Green and Gwen Cherne lay wreaths during Remembrance Day at the Australian War Memorial, in Canberra.

AAP

For Australia, the First World War remains the costliest conflict in terms of deaths and casualties, according to the Australian War Memorial.

From a population of under five million, 416,809 men enlisted. From that group more than 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.

Ceremonies around the country and around the world are marking Remembrance Day with a minute’s silence.

Originally called Armistice Day to mark the end of the Great War, it was changed after World War II to commemorate those who died in other conflicts.

“I think it’s right and proper that we see so many folks here today just to remember and hope that it doesn’t all happen again,” Brian Edwards told AAP at the National War Memorial in Canberra on Sunday.

Mr Edwards, who fought in Malaya and Vietnam, said it was tough seeing more names added to the honour roll of Australia’s war dead.

‘Everyone must understand the impact’

For retired Major Benjamin, the armistice of World War I is just as important today as it was 100 years ago.

The retired British Royal Engineers major came to honour those he served with and those still in theatres of war.

“It is important to remember friends and colleagues, the guys that I trained … who never came back, and those who are still had some life-changing injuries that are battling with it now on a daily basis,” he told AAP at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

The RSL of Australia Victorian Branch's annual State Remembrance Service at the Springvale War Cemetery, Melbourne.

The RSL of Australia Victorian Branch’s annual State Remembrance Service at the Springvale War Cemetery, Melbourne.

AAP

“It is important that everyone understands the impact it has.”

He served in tours in the Middle East including the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and in Afghanistan.

His wife Amanda Day said it important to share the sacrifices with their two children, so they understand the freedoms Australians enjoy.

Hundreds of veterans and their families gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, observing a minute’s silence.

Sandra Borthwick came with her daughter and granddaughters to pay respect to her great uncle, who served in the Boxer Rebellion and World War I.

“He came home. He was one of the lucky ones,” she said of Frank Richard Morris, who served until age 46.

From dawn to dusk, to mark the occasion a beam of light will be projected from the Australian War Memorial to Parliament House, changing from white, pink and red.

An evening vigil will also be held at the tomb of the unknown soldier, marking 25 years since he was laid to rest in Canberra.