Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Yanchep Anzac Day services well attended

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A big crowd attended the Anzac Day dawn service held at Yanchep National Park followed by the gunfire breakfast at Yanchep Inn today.

Yanchep News Online understands about 530 vehicles went through the park gate to attend the dawn service.

The main service at 11am was also well attended.

Yanchep residents Mark and Julie MacCrory were there to commemorate his grandfather and her father.

Mr MacCrory said his grandfather was in World War II in the Royal Navy and he came to Australia after the end of the war.

“I think it’s an important time to remember what these young men did for our country and not only our country but for Britain and America and all the free countries in the world,’’ he said.

“We take it for granted I think and there’s a lot of speech and people say a lot of things but the reason we’ve got free speech I think is because these young men and women did what they did to sacrifice a lot for what we have now and I appreciate that.’’

His grandfather, who was from Aberdeen in Scotland, served in Malta during the siege of Malta in WW II.

“We went back to Malta last year and the Royal Navy had a massive presence there and he would have mixed with Australians I would have thought because the Australians were in Africa as well so after the war he migrated to Australia and my father also migrated to Australia after the end of the second world war.

“He was from Glascow because they considered there was no future for them there so they came out to Australia.”

Mrs MacCrory’s father was in the RAF and was stationed in Cyprus.

Yanchep Two Rocks RSL president Bill Jones said people were at the service not to celebrate war in any manner but to reflect on, remember and give thanks to the memory of all those lost during the many wars and conflicts along with peace keeping operations in recent history.

“Not just those military personnel who were killed or maimed in the fighting but the vast number of innocent civilians who also became casualties of war,’’ he said.

“So too those who became prisoners of war and those especially on whom atrocities were committed such as the people sent to concentration and work camps, particularly during World War II.

“ We also pause to spare a thought for the ‘animals of war’ the huge number of horses, mules, donkey, doves, pigeons and dogs with the vast majority of those which survived never being able to return home again due to the quarantine requirements of the day.’’

Mr Jones said during the past 120 years members of Australia’s defence forces have had to serve during many conflicts starting with WWI and the Gallipoli landings of the original Anzacs followed by the horrors of the Western Front in France and other countries – with the war basically lasting for four years from 1914 to 1918.

“That was followed only 21 years later by World War II, which lasted for six years from September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland to September 1945.

“June 6, 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Europe by the Allied Forces to liberate all European countries from Nazi German control.

“Germany surrendered to the allies in May 1945 following the war in Africa and Europe.

“The Japanese government surrendered in September 1945 following a particularly brutal war, which resulted in the eventual dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“Both of these wars in particular resulted in many millions of human deaths and enormous destruction of cities, towns and villages.’’

He said war was extremely expensive financially as well as costly in lives and infrastructure.

“Between 1950 and 1953 the Korean war took place when the communists in North Korea invaded the much more democratic southern part of the country.

“It was mainly American and Australian forces who went to fight the northern communist forces.

“It was fought in freezing conditions when the icy winter set in and was complicated with both Russian and Chinese communist forces becoming involved.

“That action was followed by Borneo and Malaya, the Vietnam war, Cambodia, Somalia, the Gulf War in Iraq and Persian Gulf, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Afghanistan and several other peace keeping missions.

“We pause not to celebrate victories nor dwell upon defeats in all of those conflicts and peace keeping missions but simply to remember that individual, ordinary Australian men and women were prepared to make personal sacrifices in the cause of which many gave their lives for the freedom and quality of life we all enjoy today.

“We need to be vigilant that our society always remains one to value freedom, tolerance of others, the desire to talk things through rather than elect to fight and to ensure every citizen gets a fair go.’’

He said the spirit of the Anzacs was as relevant in today’s society as it was back in 1915.

“The Anzacs focused on the things of immediate importance, set priorities, remained humble and most importantly never gave up.

“May we all hope and pray that further conflicts are few and far between.

“Sadly of course, human nature dictates that we humans are violent creatures at times.

“However, war is not remotely like any game or sporting event but generally a scary and unpleasant experience.

“May we put our faith and trust in the current fine young people – our leaders of the future – to continue to advocate to always try and resolve differences and problems by discussion rather than fighting.’’

This article appeared on Yanchep News Online on 25 April 2024.

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