Lest we forget: A century on, Monto remembers the fallen
ONE HUNDRED years ago, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in Compiègne, a small town in the north of France, world leaders agreed to lay down arms and end WWI.
It was the Great War - the war that was meant to end all wars.
From a population of less than five million, more than 400,000 Australian men enlisted - 60,000 of them never returned.
A century on, we pause on this day to honour their memory.
The Monto community paid respect at a touching Remembrance Day service at the town's RSL.
In his address, councillor Paul Lobegeier reflected on his ancestors who served in the conflict that claimed so many young lives.
"Today, for the 100th time, we celebrate in silence,” Cr Lobegeier said.
"Many Australians never came home. Others came home wounded and carried those injuries for the rest of their lives.
"They fought for the freedom that each and every one of us have.
"The poppy sprung up in those muddy fields and epitomised the suffering. That little red flower symbolises all the blood that was lost.
"We must pay our respect to those people who laid down their lives.”
Monto RSL president David Watson said the club felt compelled to ramp the service up a notch in the centenary year.
"It's always a special day but a little bit more special this year because it's the 100th anniversary,” Mr Watson said.
"Remembrance Day is just as important as Anzac Day.
"Usually we have 30 or 40 people at our service but there's a turnout of close to 90 today.
All three of the town's schools were represented.
Mr Watson said all returned servicemen and women would be proud to know the significance of the occasion was not lost on them.
"It's good too see the young people involved and it's encouraging that they want to understand what it all means,” he said.
"It's important they learn why November 11 is special.
"If we don't keep the tradition going that message will be lost.”