The closing minutes of BSSC’s 2019 Anzac Ceremony, held today in the Ulumbarra Theatre, were filled with the crooning strains of ‘We’ll Meet Again’.
However, as guest speaker, Sergeant Glenn Ludeman explained during his address, more than 8000 Australians who fought at Gallipoli never returned home.
Sergeant Ludeman said many young men who signed on for the 1915 campaign believed they would be home by Christmas—an idea that was to prove devastatingly misplaced.
He applauded BSSC for its tradition of holding an annual ceremony and reinforced to students that war is not a computer game—there is no ‘restart button’.
Bendigo RSL President, Warrant Officer Peter Swandale, spoke of the work the RSL does in supporting returned servicemen and women. But he also described the long-term effects for those who do return.
“Between 2001 and 2015”, Mr Swandale explained, “there were 63 Australian deaths due to wars. But there were over 350 suicides of ex-service personnel during the same period. So buy a poppy,” he said, “to support the services and programs we offer our returned service men and women.”
Ulumbarra was filled to overflowing, with many students watching the ceremony via screens in the foyer.
Principal, Dale Pearce, was pleased to see the respect with which BSSC students participated and noted that the former students who always return for the service are a visible sign to present students of the importance of commemorating the sacrifice of others.
Student also spoke positively about this long-lived BSSC tradition.
“My great-great grandfather and uncles were engineers in the First World War and I think ceremonies like this are necessary because they gave up a lot for us,” Damien said.
Esta did not have any connection to this, or any other wars, but thinks, “it’s really good to acknowledge the feats people have done and to recognize their efforts.”
Erin was blown away by the musicians and April found the stories very interesting. Maddie noted that the speakers related their stories and ideas to the students—but thinks she would be so scared if she had to face the situation confronting those troops as they arrived at Gallipoli.
The ceremony was followed by the traditional procession up the Memorial Steps before guests enjoyed a luncheon on the Ulumbarra mezzanine.
Congratulations to all the BSSC staff and students who contributed to this important event.