Liz Reilly had a moment of inspiration as she paused to reflect this week on what Remembrance Day meant to her.
Poppies are the enduring symbol of the November 11 commemoration, so why not a little visible reminder?
Over several nights she crafted 175 small paper poppies to ‘plant’ in Belmore Park with her grandchildren on Friday. Surrounding the Boer War Memorial, passersby can’t miss the red and purple flowers, reflecting the lives of men and animals lost in World War One.
The number of poppies is not significant but the message is poignant. Ms Reilly involved her grandchildren for a reason.
“I would like children to understand that there are other people, not just family members who care about them, to be kind and care for each other and animals,” she said.
“As adults, I want them to remember the past horrors and sacrifice endured by others for us, to respect them and live productive, helpful lives.
“We should forgive but never forget, so this doesn’t happen again.”
Ms Reilly said when she attended school, everyone stopped at 11am on November 11 to remember those who served and died in war. But now it was less common as people continued with their busy lives.
“(It seems that) if war is not in your face, it’s not happening, yet there are military families out there suffering,” she said.
Ms Reilly worked in signals in the Australian Army for many years. Her forebears also served in World Wars One and Two.
The Goulburn resident of the past 21 years keenly remembers her mother’s stories.
“She was living in Tasmania but she was very frightened when the Japanese bombed Darwin (in 1942). She was worried about Dad who was serving overseas in the infantry at the time,” Ms Reilly said.
In more recent years, Ms Reilly has joined the Goulburn RSL Sub Branch. She is now a welfare officer in the Sub Branch’s auxiliary and, with ex-serviceman Mark Collins and other members of her family, is passionate about looking after veterans’ needs.
“Post traumatic stress disorder and homeless veterans are two issues that are very important to me and I’ll help wherever I can,” she said.
Like many other Goulburn residents, Ms Reilly will be attending the Remembrance Day service at Rocky Hill on Sunday.
This year is special, being the 100th anniversary since World War One’s end, but the commemoration’s significance is enduring in her book.
“I’m just grateful for what our servicemen and women did,” she said.
“They suffered so much – we just can’t comprehend it. We are a free country because of them.”
Remembrance Day arrangements
Goulburn and district will pause to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One on Sunday, November 11.
A service remembering the signing of the Armistice and the official cessation of hostilities between German and allied forces will be held at Rocky Hill at 10.30am.
Shopkeepers and many others will pause for a minute’s silence at 11am and church bells will toll simultaneously after the service.
The community is reminded that vehicular access will be restricted to Rocky Hill. Goulburn RSL Sub Branch president Gordon Wade said only cars with specially issued permits or disabled stickers would be allowed access to Memorial Drive.
Others are encouraged to catch the shuttle buses which will be running from the Carr Confoy Park at Eastgrove at 9.45am and again at 10.15am.
After the Rocky Hill service, at 11.45am, a new Avenue of Honour of oak trees will be dedicated along Park Road, Eastgrove, recognising servicemen and women’s contributions during all theatres of war. It will be held at the rock wall at Carr Confoy Park.
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