VP Day commemorations in Coffs Harbour honoured the sacrifices of our service men and women.
VP Day commemorations in Coffs Harbour honoured the sacrifices of our service men and women. ROB WRIGHT

Coffs remembrance day biggest ever

CAMARADERIE and good cheer are essential elements of Victory in the Pacific Day in Coffs Harbour.

So, too, are emotion and reflection as our community remembers those who laid down their lives for our freedom.

Coffs Harbour RSL sub-branch president Bob Payne rated yesterday’s VP Day commemorations the biggest our city has ever seen, with up to 250 people attending the Cenotaph service.

“It was very, very good. It’s great to see the numbers increase,” Mr Payne said.

“You can see how big Anzac Day and Remembrance Day are getting and VP Day is also a very important part of our ceremonial calendar.

“It’s good to see veterans are being increasingly recognised by the public – they are remembering their past deeds.”

Our national servicemen were honoured with the dedication of their plaque on the Wall of Remembrance. From 1951 to 1972, as many as 290,000 men did their national service in Australia and overseas in the navy, army and air force.

Another moving moment came when RSL sub-branch padre, Rev Dr Graham Whelan, reflected on atrocities committed by Japan in the Second World War.

“We are thankful to the Lord for his providence in keeping us free because of all of those who served,” Dr Whelan said.

“I had the privilege to visit Changi Chapel in Singapore in July to give a blessing and to honour those who served and who were prisoners of the Japanese and who were brutally treated.

“Over 35,000 were murdered by the Japanese during their internment in areas where they were sent, like the Burma Railway. The Lord has asked us to forgive the Japanese. I was also concerned that in the Japanese school text books nothing has been said about Japanese aggression but simply that they were trying to extend the Japanese empire.”

VP Day marks Japan’s acceptance of the Allied demand for unconditional surrender in 1945 and the Second World War was finally over.



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