Our say | It takes just a minute to honour ultimate sacrifice

SATURDAY morning will begin like every other for families across Bathurst and Australia.

Parents of young kids will be rushing to get out the door to junior sport.

Plenty of people will be off to work while others will take the chance for a lazy morning in bed to start the weekend.

Some might be nursing a hangover while others will enjoy a coffee and a read of the morning papers.

But at 11am, people from all walks of life will pause for a minute to remember the sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women across more than 100 years of war.

There will be a formal service at the War Memorial Carillon with the traditional laying of the wreaths and sounding of The Last Post and Reveille.

But, for most Bathurstians, Remembrance Day will be marked with just a minute’s silence before resuming their day.

And that’s OK.

It might say something for the Australian psyche that our primary day of remembrance, Anzac Day, marks the anniversary each year of a failed battle where hundreds of young men were sent to their deaths rather than the anniversary of the day that signalled an end to the fighting.

It might say something for our national values that we choose to honour the mateship, courage and sacrifice of those young men at Gallipoli (and every battle since) over trumpeting the success that was ours on Armistice Day in 1918.

However, as we approach next year’s centenary of the end of World War 1 it is worth reflecting on just what Remembrance Day should still mean to us.

First, we should remember the terrible toll of war.

By November 11, 1918, 61,530 Australians had died in the course of the World War 1. Another 39,652 would die in World War 2 and almost 2000 more have died in battles since.

Each of those deaths is a tale of love and loss for the families left behind. Each is a story of potential unfulfilled. Each is a tragedy.

So every Remembrance Day we pause to remember their sacrifice.  Unlike on Anzac Day, we do not recall the bravery of the past but the sacrifice.

The men and women whom we recognise on Saturday gave their tomorrows for our today.

That is surely worth a minute of our day. Let us never forget.