The 11th of November 1918 marked 100 years since Armistice and the end of the Great War, the war to end all wars. To quote the Australian War Memorial: “In the four years of the war more than 330,000 Australians had served overseas, and more than 60,000 of them had died. The social effects of these losses cast a long shadow over the post-war decades.”
The Veterans Motorcycle Club decided to mark the occasion with a run to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra; members from across Australia and as far away as Townsville took part in the ride. The official starting point was in Goulburn where the Southern Tablelands Chapter led a large contingent of chapters down the Federal Highway to Eaglehawk just over the ACT border. In the meantime, the Federal and Victoria Chapters met at the “chook on a stick” at Russell Offices in Canberra and rode out together to Eaglehawk.
Just after 9 am, all chapters, led by the nine Presidents and nine Sgt at Arms in attendance, led a pack of around 150 bikes of the Vietnam Veterans and Veterans club members into the ACT to the Australian War Memorial. The club was provided a reserved parking area in the Campbell High School car park just behind the War Memorial.
With many dignitaries, diplomats, Veterans including a couple of VC winners, and 12,000 grateful Australians in attendance, the service was conducted in honour of those who gave their lives for our freedoms.
In addition to the traditional service there was music from John Schumann OAM and Lee Kernaghan OAM.
Following the main service, two of the Presidents, Bones and Dutchy, laid a wreath at the Stone of Remembrance.
After a few photo opportunities the members all gathered to leave en masse back to the Federal Chapters Club in Queanbeyan via a ride through the southern suburbs of Canberra.
After the ride back some Chapters had to head straight home; others stayed on for lunch then dinner and perhaps a lemonade or two with quite a few hardy party-goers spending the night in the Federal Chapters bunkhouse.
It was a great turnout and well organised by the blokes involved — thank you to them, particularly Macca for liaising with the Australian War Memorial and getting us all fed. Our gratitude goes to Dr. Brendan Nelson and the crew at the Australian War Memorial for organising everything for our arrival and departure.
There is probably a lot more to say about the day but pictures are better, enjoy.
Lest We Forget.
article by Mork