Each Remembrance Day, the nation pauses to mark the anniversary of the guns of the Western Front falling silent after more than four years continuous warfare on 11 November 1918. The red poppies of the Western Front have become synonymous with remembrance and a symbol to remember all those who have died or suffered wars and armed conflicts.
A Navy presence was on hand for students from St. John Paul II College, in Nicholls, Canberra, as they provided support to the Gungahlin RSL Sub Branch last week by selling poppies and badges. Armed with two tins, poppies and badges they accepted lots of donations for the RSL.
Petty Officer Imagery Specialist Phillip Cullinan whose daughter Emily attends the school, decided to pitch in as a representative of one of the many currently serving defence families that have children at the school.
"Seeing the students being very proactive in support of the RSL and Remembrance Day was very great to see," he said.
"Knowing that the memory of the fallen will be carried on to future generations makes you very proud of the kids these days and that nothing will be forgotten."
Year 7 student, Emily Cullinan, volunteered her time selling poppies and badges to support the RSL, but more personally, her father.
"Helping my school sell poppies and badges was fun," Emily said.
"We met so many people and they were very happy to talk to us.
"My dad was even there helping me sell stuff which made it even more special as he is deployed a lot."
Principal of St John Paul II College, Mrs Catherine Rey, said a growing number of Defence Families attended the school. She welcomed support for Defence families from the local Defence Transition Mentor, Mrs Vicki Walsh. Mrs Walsh specifically looks after the wellbeing of the children of Defence families, often during when parents are deployed on operations and exercises.
“We feel privileged to look after young people from Defence families at JPC and recognise the many particular strains and stresses placed on Defence families because of the work they do," Mrs Rey said.
"Our values of Justice, Peace and Courage align perfectly with those of the Australian Defence Force and we are committed to ensuring that our students recognise the sacrifices made and remember those who have paid the ultimate price to gain the freedom we enjoy.
"So, at key times during the year, we remember them and pray for them with special Anzac Day services and on Remembrance Day each year."
Mrs Walsh requested the support of her charges who volunteered their own time in support of the school to help with Remembrance Day.
“Raising the awareness of Defence personnel in our community, both past and present, is significant," she said.
"Our freedom can never be repaid to the men and women who fought and died for us.
"Our students and youth, carry the duty 'to remember' - anything less would be a disservice to the memories of our fallen.
"The benevolence of our students makes me very proud and their dedication means that Remembrance Day is as important now, as it was nearly a hundred years ago.
St John Paul II College has 36 students from Defence families who this year raised over $340 for the RSL.