School students from Albany and nearby areas will come together on Thursday, November 8 this year in a unique event to commemorate 100 years since the formal declaration ending World War 1. This follows up a similar event held in 2015 that commemorated the 100th anniversary since the Gallipoli landings.
As with 2015 a parade along York Street of around 2000 students will lead to the ANZAC Peace Park where a service lead by selected students will be held.
The events of World War 1 had a major impact on the nation and as such, this period does represent a significant part of our history. At the time there were very few families and communities that were left untouched by this conflict. So many did not return, others succumbed to their wounds soon after arriving home and others lived out the remainder of their lives greatly changed by their experience. This impact has been felt in subsequent generations.
Much has also been written about how this part of our history impacted on our development as a community both socially and culturally and as well as how we were viewed internationally as a nation.
Schools have an important educative role when it comes to learning about our history. This event aims to be somewhat more immersive than the usual classroom, textbook-based approach to this area of learning and gives a deeper understanding, appreciation and interest in the events of this period.
A focus of this year’s event will be to recognise and acknowledge the 100 servicemen listed on the WW1 War Monument in York Street who lost their lives during World War 1. In the lead up to the November 8 event, students from the schools taking part have been given a limited list of names from the monument to carry out some research about the individuals involved. It is hoped that a display of the research on each of the 100 soldiers who didn’t return to their homeland, will be set up in the Albany Library.
This tribute will see 100 students place a brief history and A4 photo of those killed on small white crosses prepositioned on the larger cross, measuring 32m long, 4m wide with a 12m arm on the cross.
The ceremony will include a bell ceremony with 5 names being read out for each chime of the bell. 5 students will move out to fill in the cross. The cross will remain in place until after the main Armistice Day Service on November 11. This will be a unique ceremony not performed in Albany before.
The support of the Albany Branch of the RSL has been an instrumental part of involving young people not just in this event but also in what happened in 2015. Their enthusiasm for this undertaking and willingness to provide organisational and logistical support has been a key part of enabling the involvement of schools in this event.
The school parade and service on Thursday, November 8 will partner the community service and parade organised by the Albany Branch of the RSL to be held on Sunday, November 11.