A century on, Australians remember the war


One hundred years and many wars later, Australians will mark the end of what was meant to be the ‘war to end all wars’.

Veterans and their families will gather on Sunday around the country and around the world to mark Remembrance Day with a minute’s silence.

Originally called Armistice Day to mark the end of the Great War, it was changed after World War II to commemorate those who died in both wars.

“On 11 November 1918 at 11am, the guns on the Western Front fell silent and the most destructive war the modern world had seen was all but over and countries around the world celebrated,” Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester said this week.

Australia had not been a nation very long but 416,000 people enlisted in that war and 60,000 never returned home.

“Over the following century, our nation has been called on numerous times and tragically today more than 102,000 names are listed on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial,” Mr Chester said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will address a crowd at the National War Memorial, which was originally built to mark those who died in World War I.

It has been expanded since then to fit memorials for other wars, and is getting another $500 million expansion to fit in even more.

From dawn to dusk on Sunday a beam of light will be projected from the Australian War Memorial to Parliament House, changing from white, pink and red.

An evening vigil will also be held at the tomb of the unknown soldier, marking 25 years since he was laid to rest in Canberra.

In Victoria, both the Labor government and the coalition opposition will halt their election campaign out of respect.

Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove will be in France, representing Australia at a service at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

He also visited troops in the Middle East ahead of Remembrance Day.

“We are as a nation enormously proud of you, instinctively proud of you. We don’t hear enough of you, but that’s because you do your jobs so well,” Sir Peter told them.

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