Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of WW2 socially distanced

This Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the second world war when the then Australian Prime Minister, Ben Chifley announced to the country in 1945 WW2 was finally over.

Bombala cenotaph.

Bombala cenotaph.

Over 993,000 Australians served in WW2 and 27,073 died, 23,000 were wounded and more than 30,000 were taken as prisoners of war. Of those prisoners more than 8,000 died in captivity.

Under normal circumstances, RSL sub-branches throughout Australia would gather at cenotaphs and memorials to commemorate the occasion however with the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions this year, people will be prevented from gathering.

Delegate RSL Sub-branch president, Phil Pope said that he would like to think that Australia will find time to mark the occasion in a safe way.

"This year has been very challenging for both veterans and the families of veterans, past and present," he said.

"With the COVID-19 Pandemic we have not been able to gather to commemorate the sacrifices of war; remember our dead and commiserate with our living veterans as we have in the past.

"We however as a nation, managed to find new and meaningful ways to keep the memories alive."

Mr Pope said, ANZAC Day driveway Dawn Services were well attended and many people found out for the first time their long term neighbour they had a nodding acquaintance with, was a combat veteran, braving the chilly morning with a chest full of medals earned.

WW2 took a huge toll on the Australia population with family lives being irrevocably changed. People that welcomed loved ones home also had friends and relatives who were not coming home.

"Of those who did come home, many carried lasting injuries, both physical and psychological," Mr Pope said.

The fabric of Australian society was also changed by the war. Women went to work in factories and the fields taking the place of the men who were away and women were encouraged to join the military too.

"Unfortunately for a number of these women serving overseas as nurses and support staff, they also ended up in the middle of the conflict as areas they were in became overrun or troop ships they evacuated on were sunk.

"I would like to think that Australians will once again find the time to mark the occasion in a safe way and continue to get to know their neighbours," Mr Pope said.

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