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7 November 2021
Major Brett Gallagher will again commemorate Remembrance Day at Tuggeranong Salvos in Canberra.
Honouring those who invested in our country’s freedom
Words Darryl Whitecross and Simone Worthing
At 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War One ended. Earlier that morning, Germany, facing imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies (Britain, France, Russia) outside Compiegne, France.
This day is known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day and is commemorated on 11 November in many of the 100 countries worldwide that fought in World War One – including Australia.
“Remembrance Day is one of those important times when we get together, remember those who have died in all conflicts and give thanks to God for the sacrifices they made,” says Major Brett Gallagher, Chief Commissioner of The Salvation Army Red Shield Defence Services (RSDS) – the men and women who live and work with Australia’s defence personnel and support them in their time of need. These Salvo representatives have provided comfort and ministered practically and spiritually to soldiers in different conflicts around the world for more than 120 years.
“The day ultimately impacts all people – all cultures and faiths,” says Brett. “Hopefully, we can remember what happened in those days and times, so we don’t get to the same point in our world again. Wars, tragically, have continued, so we need to keep stopping, pausing, reflecting, and doing what we can to prevent them.
“Although Anzac Day is much more of a focus in Australia, I hope that people can stop what they are doing at 11am on 11 November, for a minute’s silence as per the tradition of the day, and remember.”
The style and nature of the commemorations and events that usually take place around the country will depend on COVID-19 restrictions, including the traditional Remembrance Day service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The RSDS representatives will be with their units, or where their units are based, and will observe the minute’s silence and mark the day.
Brett will be speaking at a service at Tuggeranong Salvos in Canberra on 7 November – the Sunday before Remembrance Day. Throughout Commonwealth countries, this is known as Defence Sunday.
“We remember the fallen, the returned, their families, and pray for people currently serving in the Australian Defence Force,” Brett explains. “We hope that some defence personnel will join us and participate as well.”
Major Colin Maxwell is a Salvation Army officer (pastor) at Tuggeranong Salvos. He said it’s important to continue to support the loved ones, families and friends of servicemen and women who battle with painful memories of war long after the campaigns have ended.
“These people are the collateral damage of war, and it’s our responsibility to continue to commemorate and remember them alongside all the experiences, suffering and loss that conflict has created,” he says.
“It’s important to us as Salvos to commemorate Defence Sunday and Remembrance Day. Such occasions, including Anzac Day, are not a celebration of war – or victory – but a time to remember the cost and to be reverent towards those who paid the price or invested in the future of our country’s freedom.
“We want to say thank you to all those who have paid the price dearly, and [those] who are left today who still feel the heavy cost, one way or another.
“Australia has been a nation which continually stood alongside other countries to battle against injustice, and we need to recognise and commemorate that.”
Under the Australian national flag and the flag of The Salvation Army, the Defence Sunday segment of the worship service will include playing ‘The Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’, singing the national anthem and a Bible message, which will focus on Christ “who died for our cause”.