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Press Release – The Guns Fell Silent

Press Release - The Guns Fell Silent

The guns fell silent. There was the smell of exploded cordite. Wisps of smoke wafted in the air. The scene was one of total desolation. There was a nervous laugh. A man’s limbs were shaking in nervous disbelief. A silence so total it seemed to thunder in the ears. Weary exhausted men looked at each other; some so battle shocked they were uncomprehending. “Its true” a Digger said. WWI was over.

Norwest Christian College acknowledges and is humbled by the supreme sacrifice 22 Riverstone men made in WWI and by a further 10 men in WWII and the Korean War. Participating in and contributing to CENOTAPH 100 and Remembrance Day Commemoration has been a duty and commitment most positively undertaken. However, a duty of both sadness and knowledge of lives cut short and of the grief felt by families here in Riverstone district. Husbands, sons, brothers, uncles lost on battlefields, many on the other side of the world.

Mr Craig Laffin, Director of Development at NWCC, had the privilege of being a member of the Riverstone and Schofields Chamber of Commerce committee planning CENOTAPH 100; the 100 year commemoration of the Riverstone War Memorial. On 8 November 1919, the war memorial was unveiled, one of the first few memorials after WWI. It preceded the first Remembrance Day which occurred 11 November 1919. Patriotism was strong in the Riverstone community of the early 19 Century. 22 war dead was a huge number for the small local population.

The NWCC Concert Band played the Australian National Anthem for the CENOTAPH 100 Commemoration. Other students were assigned the role of representing a soldier, whose name was on the memorial and walking into the railway station when that name was called. Our 32 soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice went to war again, as they would have done in times past, by train.

NWCC students held themselves proudly as they participated in the commemoration on Saturday 9 November. When interviewed a NWCC student said: “I’ve passed (the memorial) so many times and never really looked. All those men died so I can be free. I feel so guilty I never really understood. From now on I will pick out a name each time I walk past and bow my head. I understand so much more now”. Another NWCC student said, “I thought it was just about old men in jackets with lots of medals, remembering fallen mates. Now I know its about Australians, lots really young, who died that we can be free”.

Norwest Christian College Primary Captains laid a wreath on Remembrance Day, from all the NWCC community. The NWCC wreath joined the huge brilliantly colourful cascade of colourful wreaths, which almost laid siege to the Riverstone War Memorial. There was an out pouring of Riverstone’s gratitude to those who perished, who served and who supported our men and women serving our country. The Riverstone RSL Sub Branch again organised a deeply moving Remembrance Service. The lingering tones of the Last Post sent tingles down every spine and brought tears to many eyes.

Mr Laffin, who also presents the Norwest Educational Chat Show on SWRFM 99.9, was pleased to welcome on his Monday night show the organising committee for CENOTAPH 100. NWCC acknowledges and thanks Sue, Rosemary, Mike and Warren for their dedicated service to the Commemoration and to Riverstone.

LEST WE FORGET

Craig Laffin OAM
Director of Development


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