RSL president remembers war hero aunt who survived camps
FOR George Mehay, Remembrance Day isn't just about commemorating the Armistice, which was signed 101 years ago and marked the end of World War I.
The president of the Roma sub-branch of the Returned Services League this year had his aunt at the forefront of his mind, as he addressed Roma dignitaries and residents who paused for a minutes silence at the Cenotaph yesterday.
"This year is even more special to me, my aunt Yvette Lundy passed away earlier this month. She was in the French Resistance during World War II and today she will be remembered in a service in the town of Epernay, in France," Mr Mehay said.
"Today, we not only remember what happened in world war one, which is very important, but also all the conflict since then. War is not a necessary evil.
"It's also about all the unsung heroes. Since the end of World War II it has been known as Remembrance Day, but in France it's still Armistice Day, 101 years ago it was signed, and 100 years ago we had the first commemoration."
Mr Mehay said with the recent passing of his aunt, who was a decorated war hero, it was important to remember the sacrifices many had made.
"During the war, she was a school teacher and also secretary of the mayor in her small town, and she used to forge papers to allow people to escape the German Occupation," he said.
"In June 1944, she was dobbed in, caught by the German, and was sent to the Ravensburk concentration camp in Germany. She was liberated in April 1945."
After keeping her silence for a number of years, in 1959 Ms Lundy began to campaign, reminding people to never forget.
Mr Mehay said the inclusion of young people at yesterday's ceremony gave him hope for the future.
"It gives me hope for the future, and we need to make sure the people who have died in all these wars did not do so in vain. That's what it's all about - forgive, but never forget."
For young Sean Dawes, November 11 was about remembering and honouring.
"You need to keep remembering the veterans. Even though they're not here today, they served their countries and they gave their lives to give us freedom," he said.
"It's important us as the younger generation remembers and respects the generations who have gone before them and fought for them."