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Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

New Englanders are being reminded of the national importance of pausing for one minute today, at 11am, as a part of Remembrance Day.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, said Remembrance Day was one of the most sacrosanct days in the Australian calendar to all Australians from all backgrounds.

He said Remembrance Day, observed with one minute’s silence at 11 am to mark the signing of the armistice that ended World War I, was a day that reflected Australia’ loss of innocence and the solidification of nationhood through the catastrophic loss of life, limb, mind and family.

“Australia, with such a small population, had made such a massive sacrifice for a war on the opposite side of the globe that was going to have a dramatic regional effect, if we had lost”, Mr Joyce said.

He said it was often forgotten that the first Australian fatalities of World War I were in Rabaul, part of a German territory bordering Australia.

“It may be some time ago, but our forebears went away and served their call for the sake and their nation and their mates. So please don’t take their fear, pain, loneliness, misery, and loss for granted. They are your family.

“Their service makes you a family of honour and their photo should be on your wall. But if you can’t stop and pause for merely one minute, just one minute, at 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month this Saturday, then that is a pretty sad honouring of your own blood’s service,” Mr Joyce said.

“They were brave enough to go but are you brave enough to say to the shop attendant: ‘hey mate let’s just stop for a minute’?”

“When they say, ‘Lest we forget’ and you keep going about your work or your shopping, then you have forgotten.

“Listening to that song on Spotify cannot ever be more important than your family knee deep in mud and being shelled to be blown up or buried alive on the Western Front. Do you want to swap place with them? They were there so you can do what you do now, free as an Australian.

“It is so simple a request, stop and pause for one minute, surely, we are all capable of that?

“Many lived a misery for years and that was the best outcome as the unlucky died or were smashed into a sadder life.

“There are 1,440 minutes on the 11th of November. Maybe in that one minute just have a look around. They sat under that tree, swam in that river, had a girlfriend in that street, another had a wife and kids in that town. They were not pre-ordained heroes, they had just as many reasons to stay at home as you, but they didn’t.

“We hope the day never arrives where it is asked of your family again. If horror and tyranny calls for your service to stand in its way, are you prepared to walk out your door, say goodbye and maybe never return again or return as a different traumatised person? We all hope and pray that call is not made of us.

“That’s why, at 11am this Saturday, just stop and pause for one minute. You have another 1,439 minutes to catch up if you are in such a terrible hurry.

“Maybe one of your family from then is looking at you now from the place their spirit is and asking: ‘I wonder if my family has forgotten what I went through for them?’ Lest we forget”, Mr Joyce said.

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