Today’s 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice is a chance to reflect on a world that seems at once so far removed from our own, and yet also so close.
None of the Australians who fought in the Great War remains alive today but their legacy is undiminished.
And while the technological advances of the past 100 years make the world of 1918 quite alien to us now, it is just a generation or two removed from most of us.
My own link to World War One is through my paternal grandfather.
His service records show he signed up in Liverpool in 1915 as a 21-year-old station hand and was appointed to the 12th Australian Light Horse regiment.
His regiment arrived on the shores of Gallipoli as reinforcements since months after the fated April 25 landing and later, in October 1917, played a leading role in the Battle of Beersheba.
Australia lost 67 soldiers at Beersheba, and had one of those bullets hit my grandfather he would not have returned to Australia to meet and marry my grandmother, nor raise my father as his fifth and youngest child.
I would never have been born, and nor would my children.
As far as a story of war service goes, my grandfather’s is just another of the thousands of stories of Australian servicemen and women over more than 100 years.
His story is far from extraordinary, but I’m humbled to think that he experienced first-hand some pivotal moments in Australia’s military history.
As we mark Remembrance Day today, I’m sure most of us have a similar tale to reflect on.
All the best, Murray