Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke urges the community to stop and remember the sacrifice of our Australian service men and women.

“Remembrance day is a time to come together and reflect on the events which have shaped our nation.

“Every year on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we stand in silence to remember not only the moment that the guns fell silent on the Western Front and ended the First World War, but every honourable service man and women who has served our nation during times of war and peace.

“We remember those who sacrificed their lives, or came home again bearing scars that would never heal. Over the four years of World War I, more than 60,000 of 330,000 of our finest young Australian’s who had served overseas had been killed.

“During World War II almost a million Australians served, 30,000 were taken prisoner and 39,000 gave their lives.

“We also take this opportunity to remember those who have served Australia in numerous other conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

“The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 which have faced us during 2020 have changed the format of our ceremonies for this year but we can still gather together and pay our respects.

“With communities restricted in their ability to gather in large numbers to mark ANZAC Day earlier this year, I was humbled by the number of people across the Cootamundra Electorate who participated in my wreath challenge, making their own ANZAC wreath and hanging it on their front gates. This was a great example of community spirit and way to show respect for our service men and women in these turbulent times.

“In the face of COVID-19 we have seen our Australian Defence Force step up to the challenge yet again to assist with a different kind of battle against a global pandemic.

“This has included supporting the repatriation of Australian’s from overseas, reconnaissance, planning and contact tracing teams, medical assistance, supporting mandatory quarantine arrangements and state and territory police border controls.

“We are so proud of those Australian service men and women who have helped to shape this wonderful country we live in and continue to do so.