ANZAC heritage is safe
On Friday, November 9, myself and RSL veterans were invited to participate in the annual Murray Bridge High School Remembrance Day service.
Sitting in front of over 1000 students and staff and listening to the high school band play the national anthem prepared us for the service that was to come.
Young Australian Air Force Cadets from 622 Squadron carried out catafalque party and flag-raising duties and were a credit to their unit, and their presence gave the service a more military theme.
Wreaths were laid by dignitaries, and RSL member and Afghanistan veteran Chris Tilley gave a wonderful speech on his time in a current-day war zone and what mateship meant to him.
We had morning tea with staff and the newly elected head prefects for next year and said our goodbyes.
But that wasn’t the end of our week.
On Sunday we attended the Murray Bridge Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital service along with about 200 others, where we once again paid our respects for those who paid the supreme sacrifice.
Many wreaths were again laid, but nothing was more moving than seeing six-year-old Thomas Hogben from Mannum, resplendent in waistcoat, hat and medals, lay a single red rose in honour of his great grandfather, who never returned from the Great War.
Once again there was still more to come, as on Monday morning at 9am the main road bridge across the river was blocked by SAPOL, allowing 200 year 9 students and staff from Murray Bridge High School, led by their school band, to march across the river to the RSL in what was called a peace march.
They were addressed by World War II veteran and past RSL president Mr Bob Channon, who spoke about his duties guarding the twin bridges at the outbreak of WWII, and his later WWII service in Borneo and Papua New Guinea for a further five years.
Students were then shown through the RSL museum and saw uniforms and equipment used by World War I soldiers.
RSL junior vice president Andy Dale told of the horrors those soldiers would have faced, and the fact that their names should never be forgotten.
This week has shown us that as the older generation of war fighters pass on, we should have no fears that our ANZAC heritage and the sacrifices of our forebears will ever be forgotten.
It is safe in the hearts and minds of the enthusiastic young people of the Murraylands who will be the next generation to say “we will remember them”.
Lest we forget.
David Laing, Murray Bridge
High school says thank you
On behalf of the staff and students of Murray Bridge High School I would like to acknowledge members of our local community who have contributed to the student learning about World War I over the Remembrance Day period.
Firstly, thank you to the local government for preparing the lawned area at the cemetery, enabling our year 9 students to place flags at the graves of ex-servicemen and women.
It was an eye-opener for a class of year 9 students to see the number of graves, to read the names and to recognise the service of these remarkable people.
A big shout-out to Adrian Pederick, members of the RSL and members of the Rotary Club of Murray Bridge who attended our Remembrance Day service on Friday.
A special thank you to Chris Tilley, returned veteran, who spoke to the gathered assembly about the many hats worn by servicemen and women.
The students were intrigued and listened intently to Chris’ words.
Also on the day a number of Air Force cadets performed such duties as raising and lowering the flags as well as forming a catafalque party and reading the Ode.
On Monday, 150 year 9 students participated in a peace walk across the old bridge to the RSL club.
Special thanks go to SAPOL for their help and support in providing a rolling closure of the bridge.
We would also like to acknowledge the Rural City of Murray Bridge and DPTI for their help in organising the event.
Once the students arrived at the RSL club they were welcomed by David Laing, president, who spoke about the role servicemen and women still play today in peace keeping roles in places like Afghanistan.
Bob Channon then spoke to the students about his role during World War II – a very interesting presentation that brought home to the students the atrocities of war.
Finally, Andy Dale, a returned veteran, talked the students through the World War I paraphernalia on show.
The students learned so much in such a short time.
It would be remiss of us not to acknowledge the people who worked behind the scenes to make all of these events possible.
Helen Peake, Murray Bridge High School
Thanks from a successful candidate
I would like to thank those you had the faith in myself to be returned to Mid Murray Council (MMC).
I am looking forward to working with Simone Bailey and tackling our financial situation and putting the brakes on our spending so MMC can once again be in a solid situation.
To my colleagues in the Coorong who have been unsuccessful: keep working for your community and ensure the previous successes are built.
To Neville: just keep up your good work.
Peter R Smith, Mannum