Valley Veterans | Mutual respect could lead to our children continuing their lives knowing only peace

At Nambucca Heads High's Anzac service Kawana Crowe, Lily Dedman, Mick Birtles DSC, Isaac Jones and Deklan Cutmore. Photo Annette Welsh
At Nambucca Heads High's Anzac service Kawana Crowe, Lily Dedman, Mick Birtles DSC, Isaac Jones and Deklan Cutmore. Photo Annette Welsh

I had the great pleasure to be invited to the Nambucca Heads High School for this year's Anzac Day service.

This is the second time I have attended the school's event and on both occasions I have been very impressed.

All of the school's staff and students attended the ceremony and the orderly way the students entered the school gymnasium, took their seats and listened intently to each speaker was a credit to them.

An audio visual presentation of Lee Kernaghan's Spirit of Australia provided a depiction of Australian servicemen and servicewomen during conflict from the original Anzacs until the present day.

This was followed by Kawana Crowe delivering the Acknowledgment of Country. Declan Cutmore then recited the stirring words of Ataturk which are inscribed on the Anzac Memorial at Gallipoli and at the Australian War Memorial Canberra.

Elly then covered the Anzac Requiem and this was followed by a moving video that depicted a soldier of the Great War and his letters home from the front, before he was killed in action.

Isaac Jones passed on a tribute to Anzac Day then I was invited to speak. In keeping with tradition for such an occasion the Ode was recited by Lily Dedman, the Last Post, one minute's silence and rouse was observed and the ceremony concluded with the national anthem.

The ceremony was coordinated by the head teacher HSIE, Stephen Elsley, and was conducted with dignity and respect.

Respect for the Anzacs, respect for the Gumbaynggirr people, the traditional custodians of the land, respect for each other and I felt that I, as a returned serviceman, was also afforded respect by the staff and students.

I relayed to them the story of the McGree family who lived in Taylors Arms at the time of the Great War.

I told them how Bridget and James McGree had lost three sons in that terrible war.

I concluded my talk by adding the challenge for their generation was to work toward a peaceful world, something my generation had failed to deliver.

I lamented how world leaders had done little to prevent war from recurring. When I took my seat again I reflected on the respectful way the students sat in silence and listened.

I noted the mutual respect between students and teachers. It is a shame political leaders do not behave in such a manner.

It really is all about respect. With mutual respect at every level our kids may have a chance to continue their lives knowing only peace. Lest we forget.