At 11 am today the nation paused for Remembrance Day, marking the Armistice that ended the First World War on 11 November 1918, after more than four years of continuous bloody conflict.
Between 1914 and 1918 a newly federated Australia sent 414,000 of their citizens to face the horrors of modern industrialized war. By 1918, almost 62,000 Australians lay dead among the mud and destruction of the trenches in Europe, the sands of Sinai, Palestine and Syria.
On this day each year, people across the globe observe a minute’s silence in memory of those who have died or suffered in war and on peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, a tradition the Australian War Memorial continued at its National Ceremony in Canberra this morning.
12,000 people attended the ceremony on the Memorial’s grounds. The event was also attended by the Honourable Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minster of Australia, the Honourable Bill Shorten MP, leader of the Federal Opposition, Defence Chiefs and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
The Commemorative Address was delivered by the Prime Minister, and epitaphs from First World War graves read by Mr Shorten.
Approximately 280 school children attended the event from seven schools across Australia including Semaphore in South Australia and South Perth in Western Australia. Representing the more than 102,000 names on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour, 11 students participated by laying a Commemorative Cross at the Stone of Remembrance.
On the 25th anniversary of his delivery of the Eulogy for the Unknown Australians Soldier, former Prime Minister, the Honourable Paul Keating also attended the ceremony.
Forming a Catafalque Party during the ceremony was Australia's Federation Guard, accompanied by the Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
The day will conclude with a moving Last Post Ceremony honouring the Unknown Australian Soldier, whose tomb rests in the Hall of Memory, and whose eulogy was first delivered by former Prime Minister Paul Keating in 1993.
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