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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 09 November 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 NOVEMBER 2019 25 OPINION Armistice Day is on Monday: Lest we forget STEVE KYRITSIS On Monday 11 November, on the 11th hour of the 11th day, all over Australia, people will stop at 11am for a minute of silence - to remember the Service and Sacrifice of the fallen in WWI. At the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance, a Wreath Laying Ceremony will take place in the Sanctuary of the Shrine. The Sanctuary is considered the heart of the Shrine. It has a compelling atmosphere of reverence. The Sanctuary serves as a place of ceremonial events and personal solitude. In the Sanctuary is the stone of Remembrance and has no hidden meaning…but reveals its purpose with the uttermost simplicity". It bears the inscription "Greater Love Hath No Man", which is taken from the Bible, John 15.13. The full verse reads "Greater Love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends". The stone is placed below floor level, so that no hands may touch it and that heads bow in reverence to read the inscription. A special feature of the Shrine is the Ray of Light; a beam of sunlight which passes through an aperture crossing the word Love on the stone of Remembrance on Remembrance Day. It took Dr Baldwin, the Government Astronomer and Surveyors, 144 pages of as- ians that served in WWI, just over 62,000 lost their lives either killed or died from various of diseases. From Victoria 89,000 went to war and 19,000 did not returned back home - that is one in five died from Victoria. Poppies at the Shrine of Remembrance. The red poppy is the symbol of Remembrance by all Commonwealth Countries since the end of WWI to remember those who died in the line of duties. These poppies bloomed across some of the world’s battle fields, and the colour is an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled. PHOTO: SUPPLIED tronomical and mathematical calculations to ensure the precision of the placement of the apertures.Dr Baldwin calculated that the ray will continue to pass the centre of the Stone, within two minutes of 11am on Remembrance Day for at least 5000 years. The accuracy of the calculations was tested on Armistice Day in 1931, when to the relief of surveyors the ray of sunlight fell upon a board where the Stone of Remembrance was to be placed. The external aperture is covered on all days except Re- membrance Day. Just above the frieze panels on the eastern wall is the internal aperture. On Remembrance Day the shaft of light first appears on the north-west side of the wall surrounding the Stone of Remembrance and the light then moves across the stone. It takes 11 minutes for the light to cross the stone. Precisely at 11am the light shines upon the word Love in the centre of the Stone. That marks the commencement of one minute of silence (originally two minutes) and the Governor of Victoria lays a Wreath. Those present for the ceremony include the Premier, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, diplomats, politicians, Shrine Trusties and Governors, RSL and Legacy representatives and Defence Service Chiefs. The Armistice to end WWI was signed at 5am on the 11th of November, but it was a further six hours before the hostilities on all fronts ended. Thus, Armistice hour is on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS On Monday 11 November, people all over Australia and all Commonwealth Countries in the world will pause for a minute's silence to remember the end of WWI, and also to reflect on all those that served and died in this terrible conflict. For Australians as a young nation in 1915 with a population of five million, soldiers were full of enthusiasm to serve Mother England in time of need. From the 330,000 Austral- Respect and remembrance ELENA STEFANOU World War I and World War II were the most devastating conflicts to ever affect mankind. The death and devastation were beyond imagination. Soldiers, families and entire groups of people were lost. However, these wars produced an amazing generation of brave men and women who sacrificed themselves to fight against tyranny and fight for freedom. Two of these brave men were my great uncles that fought during WWII in Greece. One was an airplane pilot and the other fought as part of the resistance movement against the occupying German Army in Samos.. My great uncle John Stefanou on my father's side was the oldest child of five. Even though he came from a poor family, he wanted to help the war cause and signed up to be a pilot with the British Royal Air Force (RAF). In 1942, he was sta- tioned in the middle east in 1942 where he flew Vickers Wellington bomber aeroplanes. He was a great pilot and flew many missions during the war. The aircraft repelled a number of attacking enemy planes and even shot some down. It was very dangerous and his family worried that he would not survive. Uncle John survived the war, but died in an unfortunate accident during a 1946 air show when his plane experienced engine failure, crashed and killing the whole crew. His family was devastated and they never recovered from the loss. My grand parents named my father John in memory of Uncle John. My great uncle Kosta Saklas on my paternal grandmoth- er's side, was quite a character. During the war, he gathered enemy information and would pass it onto the hidden Greek resistance forces. It was very dangerous as he could have been shot by the Germans for doing this. Uncle Kosta was captured, held as a prisoner of war, escaped twice and was recaptured twice. The Germans warned him that if he attempted to escape again, he would suffer a painful torture. My uncle was determined to escape again and he did. When he was recaptured by the Germans, they tortured him by ripping out some of his toenails and fingernails. His wounds became infected, so they placed him in a hospital for treatment. Uncle Kosta fell in love with the Greek nurse who cared for him. They devised a plan and she snuck him out of the hospital to safety. He repaid her kindness by marrying her and having a family later in life. After the war, my great uncle Kosta decided to dedicate his life to making people happy with his music and singing. He became quite well known and went by the stage name "O Samiotakis" (Editor's note, this was the same stage name used by another Samian at the time - Kostas Rakounas). Elena Stefanou accepts her prize from Sam Vlahos of the 23 March group of Kalamata at the Hellenic Memorial. PHOTO: SUPPLIED Kostas Saklis, aka “O Samiotakis”. Yiannis Stefanou Future generations have men like my uncles to thank for basic freedoms that we all take for granted. For without these sacrifices the world would be a different place. * Elena Stefanou, aged 13, first submitted the above contribution to the Hellenic Memorial school competition entry. She won second prize in her category. Her article first appeared on O Apostratos newsletter of the Hellenic RSL. All wars are catastrophic, but for me WWI stands out as Australia's youth went to be slaughtered. The correct age to enlist in 1915 was 18, but young men aged as young as 15, 16, 17 raised their hands to enlist and to serve their Country. On this day at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance, a wreath laying Service will take place, with the Premier of Victoria attending with other Politicians, and Defence Force Personnel. For me personally, my thoughts will go to my service in the Vietnam War, the men I served with, and the men we lost with 521 Australians killed in that terrible War. No matter where we might be on Monday the 11th, we all should sacrifice one minute, to remember all those that served,and died for our freedom. LEST WE FORGET * Steve (Anastasios) Kyritsis OAM is the President of the Hellenic Sub-Branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia.
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