Poems from young hearts as Sunshine Coast remembers
WITH poetry from the heart and crosses laid by little children, the Sunshine Coast remembered the 100,000 Australians who have died in war in the past 113 years.
War veterans, school and community representatives joined with Queensland's most senior lawmaker, Jarrod Bleijie, to mark Remembrance Day at Kawana Waters today.
Young bugler Simon Ward made his service debut sounding the Last Post.
As the waves washed ashore in the background, students from Kawana Waters State College read In Flanders Fields, telling of the poppies that blow between the row of crosses marking the dead.
Themes of mateship, sacrifice, bravery and the futility of war echoed through the poems of Buddina State School students who took out the 2013 Remembrance Day poetry competition.
Students had earlier had their own Remembrance Day ceremony in front of the Anzac Garden.
The school captains ran the ceremony, with Kevin Grayson from the Kawana Waters RSL delivering the address.
Mr Ron Shoemark, Mr Terry Copson and Mr Geoff Henry from the Incapacitated Servicemen and Women's Association presented three $150 bursaries to the winners of the Remembrance Day Poetry competition.
Deputy principal Peter Lloyd said he was very proud of the students' poetry as it was of a very high standard.
The three Year Seven poetry winners were: Seamus Burkett, Jai Moss and Francesca Testa.
They were greeted with heartfelt applause as they presented their poems to the main Kawana RSL ceremony
Guest speaker Peter Rogers, DFC, who was honoured for his bravery under fire as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, spoke of the courage of ordinary Australians.
"In World War One, that great war, the war to end all wars, if you went overseas you had a one in five chance of dying there, as 63,000 Australians did,'' Mr Rogers said.
He said the unknown soldier, buried in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, represented all who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"He might have, like so many others, believed that the war was an adventure too great to miss.
"He may have felt that he could never live down the shame of not going.
"He may just have volunteered because he believed it was the duty he owed his country and his king.
"Our country had a solidarity then that it does not have today,'' Mr Rogers said.
"He reminds us of the lesson that rises above the horror, tragedy, and inexcusable stupidity that war produces, the lesson is about ordinary people.
"And the lesson is that they were not ordinary, they were heroes who continually lived each day expecting to die.
"Unlike generals or politicians, or the sports players and actors we seem to hold up as heroes today, they taught us to endure hardship, to face fear and terror, to be bold as well as resilient, to believe in ourselves, to stick together.''
"The unknown soldier was one who, by his deeds, showed that real nobility and grandeur belongs not to empires and nations, but to the people on whom they, in the last resort, always depend.''
Remembrance Day (by Francesca Testa)
Behold the noble soldiers, in all their strongest might,
Behold the loyal soldiers, always ready to fight
Oh behold the strongest soldiers,
Who fought all these years,
Oh behold the strongest soldiers,
The ones who hold back all the tears
As bodies lay all around them, they keep on fighting strong,
They still keep on fighting, no fear of going on
They went off to serve us, to make our country proud
They are there on the battlefields, where bombs shatter so loud
The chains of war have been demolished, and do not remain any longer
For there is no worse person than the warmonger
As the brave soldiers rest,
Let us say, "Lest we forget."
Anything for a mate (by Jai Moss)
The sun is rising now above the battleground
I cannot hear a noise, not a whisper not a sound
We're down in the trenches, down near the mud
Where faces of sorrow mix with warm blood
This is no fun, this is no game
My mate's lives are not theirs to claim
Can this be real, can this be true
It's too hard to face but I'll have to pursue
My mate is hit, I come to his aid
The wound is bad, but he's not afraid
I stand and watch my best friend die
It's very hard and I'm starting to cry
Just as he's about to depart
He sends me a message from his heart,
"Tell my family I love them, they're great."
I said, "Anything for a mate."
The Ultimate Sacrifice (by Seamus Burkett)
My cousin is beside me as we land on the border
In front of us the general barks out his orders
Armed soldiers surround me all in formation
We are here to fight, to fight for our nation
The sound of explosions erupts in my ears
This is what we've trained for, year after year
So I load my gun and throw my grenade
To survive this war I cannot be afraid
Bullets whizz past my head and soldiers fall in despair
Any minute could be your last so you must always be aware
I hear the sound of soldiers collapsing in pain
Their desperate cries in agony are a terrible strain
Everyday the fighting gets more intense
My cousin was shot while retreating in defence
Every night within the darkness I hear the eerie sounds
I think of his cries for help as his body lay on the ground
It has been declared now, the war has come to an end
We get to see our families, our relatives and our friends
But the thoughts of war will haunt me again and again
We left for war as young boys and came back as men
Many bodies of soldiers on the battlefield rest
As we think of them we wear poppies on our chest
So remember them today as we pause and stand
These people sacrificed themselves in honour of our country, our land