The sun shone on a beautiful ceremony for Remembrance Day in Camden this morning.
A strong crowd gathered at the Macarthur Park war memorial to pay their respects to Australia’s service men and women both past and present.
The event was made even more special by the appearances of guest speaker Damien Thomlinson, who lost both his legs when his convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, and cadets from the army, navy and air force – the first time all three divisions had been together in Camden.
Camden RSL Sub-Branch president Iain Richard-Evan thanked everyone for taking the time to remember the fallen and spoke of the origins of Remembrance Day, also called Armistice Day is countries across the globe.
He told the crowd how peace was reached on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the end of World War II.
St John’s Anglican Church Camden associate minister Mitch Herps delivered several prayers while a guest vocalist led the crowd in a number of hymns and the national anthem.
But the speaker of the day was undoubtedly Thomlinson.
“Thank you Camden, I appreciate the privilege of being able to speak to you,” he said.
“Please spare a thought on the eleventh for the brothers that we’ve lost.
“I’m so grateful to have ever been able to wear the Australian uniform.
“I joined the army based on my grandfather’s service, there’s a photo of him that always sat, pride of place, next to my mum’s computer in the study.
“I saw that and had no idea at that stage what I was actually pushing myself into.”
Thomlinson said he was forever grateful to have served alongside such brave people that allowed him to live his life to this day.
“Make no mistake I’m here and alive solely because of the resilience my brothers had,” he said.
“I think that as a nation we should be completely proud of people who have fought not just at places like Kokoda, but people who had fought to keep people such as myself alive, people who have given that little bit of their soul is something I think all of us Australians have to proud of.
“You are the support mechanism, you are who we lean on when we come back, whether our scars are visible, like mine, or whether they are invisible.
“Whether you can’t see them, whether there’s damage to people’s minds.
“Every single person who’s in Australia, who’s paying respects today, thank you. You make it worthwhile for the job we do.”
Lest we forget.