Currumbin RSL marks centenary as president bows out
REMEMBRANCE Day will have added poignancy this year for Ron Workman OAM, as both the centenary of Armistice and his final November 11 ceremony as Currumbin RSL president after almost 25 years.
He plans to retire following Anzac Day 2019, after what he describes as "a tremendous journey".
In the four years of The Great War, The War to End All Wars, more than 330,000 Australians served overseas, and more than 60,000 died.
"It's an extraordinary moment in time," Mr Workman said of the 100th anniversary of the declaration of peace.
He recalls being part of the Royal Colour Party, comprising three Australian and two New Zealand servicemen, who took part in the golden anniversary commemorations in Paris 50 years ago.
They met President Charles de Gaulle, who as General had led the French resistance in the Second World War.
The group toured the battlefields of France with a retired British Colonel and historian.
"Every time we unfolded the Royal Colours it was a moment of great dignity and respect for those who had fallen, but also an extraordinarily emotional experience as he told us of all the dreadful moments that had happened in each theatre of conflict," Mr Workman said of the stories which had them in tears.
"I'm 79 now, and I believe if you don't remember the past, you don't have a future."
He said it was vital to acknowledge the horrors of war, what caused them, and ensure that path is never followed again, and that we are always there to help others, as is "the Australian way".
Raised by his aunty and uncle, Mr Workman had a pretty tough childhood, joining the Airforce at just 15.
The service and helping the community, particularly other veterans and widows in need, has been a huge part of his life ever since.
"I've always maintained if I can do something for someone else, I will," he said.
The Currumbin Remembrance Day ceremony, in the Currumbin RSL Memorial Gardens, begins at 9.30am and will be led by members of the Albert Battery and Australian Light Horse, representing the past, and the 213 Squadron Airforce Cadets, representing the future.
More than 100 people are expected to take part in the White Cross of Remembrance Ceremony at 9.45am.
The cenotaph ceremony and wreath-laying begins at 10am, with the bell toll and a minute's silence at 11am followed by the last post, reveille and volley fire.
A flypast by members of the Royal Australian Airforce has yet to be confirmed for 11.05am, but it seems only fitting for both the 100th anniversary and to mark Mr Workman's farewell.
If you wish to place a cross for the first time on Remembrance Day, contact the Veterans' Support Centre on (07) 5559 5022.
A list of Gold Coast services is available at mygc.com.au or call the Queensland RSL on (07) 3534 9444 to find your nearest sub-branch.