This time a year ago we were faced with an ANZAC Day the likes of which we had never seen before.
The COVID-19 pandemic had forced us into our homes, we couldn’t come together to commemorate this special day, and a “new normal” had us unsure of what the future had in store.
Fast forward 12 months and, thanks to the great work of people in our communities, we are much closer to the “old normal” and I am extremely happy that we can once again come together to honour those who have sacrificed for our nation.
Our region has a strong military history, which I have been highlighting on my website in the lead-up to ANZAC Day.
I have thoroughly enjoyed researching the likes of Private Thomas Cohen, who was born at Mookerawa and lived in Stuart Town before enlisting in March 1916 and being assigned to the 2nd Battalion.
After a long period of service in France, Cohen’s unit was engaged in fighting in the Mont St Quentin area, and it was here that he was killed in action on 18 September 1918, aged 37 years.
Then there is the story of the Dowling brothers, Ted and Claude, who were drapers by trade and both fought in Gallipoli and survived.
Both men were awarded Military Medals, Ted for his work as a stretcher bearer in Palestine and Claude for his bravery in attending to the wounded under heavy artillery fire at a time when stretcher bearers were unavailable.
Sadly, Claude was killed in action in 1917 while Ted returned to Dubbo in June 2019.
These are just two of the thousands of stories that ensure ANZAC Day holds a special place in the hearts of us all, and I am excited at the prospect of having our younger generations involved in ANZAC activities again this year.
Doing so ensures the ANZAC legacy will live on as we appreciate the sacrifices made so we can enjoy the benefits of living in the best country in the world.
Lest We Forget.