Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Day

Most of my posts are aimed at the Aussie Hero Friends - 
those that sew for us and help us in other ways.   
Tonight's post is different.  
Tonight's post is for those that we serve- our wonderful Aussie Heroes.

I have borrowed the following from the Australian War Memorial Website.
At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months. In November the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted the allied terms of unconditional surrender.
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. The moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war. This first modern world conflict had brought about the mobilisation of over 70 million people and left between 9 and 13 million dead, perhaps as many as one-third of them with no known grave. The allied nations chose this day and time for the commemoration of their war dead.
On the first anniversary of the armistice in 1919 two minutes' silence was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony at the new Cenotaph in London. The silence was proposed by Australian journalist Edward Honey, who was working in Fleet Street. At about the same time, a South African statesman made a similar proposal to the British Cabinet, which endorsed it. King George V personally requested all the people of the British Empire to suspend normal activities for two minutes on the hour of the armistice "which stayed the worldwide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and Freedom". The two minutes' silence was popularly adopted and it became a central feature of commemorations on Armistice Day.
On the second anniversary of the armistice in 1920 the commemoration was given added significance when it became a funeral, with the return of the remains of an unknown soldier from the battlefields of the Western Front. Unknown soldiers were interred with full military honours in Westminster Abbey in London and at the Arc de Triumph in Paris. The entombment in London attracted over one million people within a week to pay their respects at the unknown soldier's tomb. Most other allied nations adopted the tradition of entombing unknown soldiers over the following decade.
After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead.
In Australia on the 75th anniversary of the armistice in 1993 Remembrance Day ceremonies again became the focus of national attention. The remains of an unknown Australian soldier, exhumed from a First World War military cemetery in France, were ceremonially entombed in the Memorial's Hall of Memory. Remembrance Day ceremonies were conducted simultaneously in towns and cities all over the country, culminating at the moment of burial at 11 am and coinciding with the traditional two minutes' silence. This ceremony, which touched a chord across the Australian nation, re-established Remembrance Day as a significant day of commemoration.
Four years later, in 1997, Governor-General Sir William Deane issued a proclamation formally declaring 11 November to be Remembrance Day, urging all Australians to observe one minute's silence at 11 am on 11 November each year to remember those who died or suffered for Australia's cause in all wars and armed conflicts.
Now what follows has been sent in to me by a number of my Aussie Hero Friends.  I asked them to write a message for me to use to explain why they sew for Aussie Heroes.   Some of them found it hard to write, some found it very emotional but all their words come from the heart.    I have found since we started this that Aussie Heroes is more than just quilts and laundry bags.   We are a group of Friends who believe in, appreciate, respect and care for our service men and women.  Today seems a pretty good day to say why.
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“Thank you so much to all our Aussie Hero members of Defence. Thank you for all the work you do for Australia & other Countries world wide. You make me proud to be an Aussie. Sewing for
you can never be thanks enough for all that you do. This remembrance day my family & I will be remembering & giving thanks to you. We will be thinking of you, your colleagues & we will also
be thinking & remembering our past & future members of Defence. Take care, stay safe & thank you. ”

This from a group - A great deal of the work we do is given to others.  We loved the idea of being able to show our deployed troops that we are thinking of them; in the way we do it best, with a quilt to brighten your living space. Over the years we have loved and supported each other through all the hardships that life can throw at us, and delighted at each other’s happy news. This is our way of saying to you that we are thinking of you as well.
We live in a lovely area, we have gorgeous beaches, fantastic food and wine, forests and all sorts of wonderful nature abounding. We have not lost sight of the fact that we have these because our armed forces have kept them safe for us. Be this our grandparents or parents, or yourself and your comrades who continue this work.
We send you are kindest regards, our best wishes and the greatest of respect.

My son is in the army. I remember him telling me something he was told during his basic training. He said that they were now part of a very big family. The officer said that at all costs avoid confronting situations when on leave in town. Because if they ever found themselves in trouble, they would have a few hundred to back them up, where as the guy in the street would only have a couple of mates.

I'm sure that everyone serving here and overseas feels a little like that.(part of the big family) So I make the quilts to say thank you for being a brother/sister to my son. Someone he can rely on, someone to relate to and someone who is more than just a workmate. Although I will never know the people I send the quilts to, they are often in my thoughts and I pray they all return home safely.


"I do not come from a military background and there are no serving members in my immediate nor extended family but I am interested in what our troops are doing overseas and in Australia. It is always sad to hear when a life has been lost in conflict. 
It is important for me to sew for our Aussie Heroes, as a Friend of AHQ, to show appreciation and support in a practical way from someone in the wider Australian community.
Thinking of you as we all remember and honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan and in wars past.

My reason for making quilts and laundry bags is to show how much we appreciate the job being done by our service men and women and this is a small way to say thank you.
What can you say, “we remember the fallen” but pray that you all come home safe and sound!

My reasons for sewing for AHQ – I am a former serving member of the Army, as is my husband, who is also a Vietnam Vet. We know the disruption to family life that service brings, and very often, the only people who really understand are other service families. The Vietnam Vets didn’t always get the support and recognition they deserved from the Australian public, and while I can’t change that, I can do my bit to ensure that our service men and women deployed overseas know that their service is recognised and appreciated.

My Dad (WW2) was very active in supporting ex servicemen especially those not doing so well, war widows and families, and strongly instilled those values into us, his children. So it is a privilege to be able to contribute in just a small way, to the support of our present day troops. There is no way that we can say thank you enough for your sacrifices in being away from your loved ones, and putting yourselves into such a vulnerable position. A quilt and laundry bag is such a small thank you in comparison to what you do, but each one is stitched with a thankful heart, and pride in the Aussie spirit you demonstrate to us.

Why do I sew for Aussie Heroes?
First and foremost, because our wonderful defence forces deserve some support and recognition of the difficult and dangerous job they do in all manner of foreign trouble spots.
Secondly, because it is something I can do in my spare time to use up some of my accumulated fabrics.
Thirdly, because I enjoy making quilts and I get immense satisfaction from knowing my quilts are being used and not just taking up space in a cupboard.

I’ve had this written for a while but didn’t send it because I wasn’t sure how it would be received. I’m aware that not everyone is a Christian and may not share my point of view. However, this is why I sew for AHQ and other charities.  

I sew for Aussie Heroes because as a Christian I am called to give of the goodness that God has given me and I see the quilts as a part of my giving. I’ve been gifted with creativity and the ability to sew and I want to bless others with that gift. It’s a way of showing love to others.

Also, as the wife of an Army padre, I feel a real empathy for these men and women and their families. I look on the quilts as a way of blessing these men and women and showing them in a tangible way that we support them. I think it also shows the families of our defence personnel that there are others out there who support and care for them. There’s a lot of negativity in the press about what our defence force is doing overseas and I see the quilts and laundry bags as a small way of counter-acting that.

Remembrance Day: Brave hearts, strong innocent youths, undying camaraderie, sorrowing mothers, brothers and sisters, anxious wives, forlorn children ; distressed sweethearts.
Hearts which feel like exploding when sorrow is almost too painful to breathe; lumps in throats.
Tears welling with pride and honouring those who gave so unselfishly of themselves for family, friends, country, world humanity.
Hard for those who returned home leaving fallen mates; hard to resume home life when tormenting memories won't pass.
if a simple act of kindness by sewing for our deployed troupes can give joy, a smile, a glimmer of happiness and show our pride for all ADF Personnel and Civilians, then my machine will keep whirring until there is no more need.
Keep your heads down and please come home safely to family, friends and all of Australia who support you.
sincerely and with respect and utter pride in you all,

The reason why I have started (and shall continue) making quilts for the Aussie Hero Quilts, is because my husband is a Vietnam Veteran (regular Army). He came home to a very unsettled country with many people blaming the soldiers returning to a country that was in turmoil about its participation in the Vietnam War. The soldiers were blamed, not the politicians. Even the RSL rejected the Vietnam Veterans for many years. But more than that. If my husband were serving today I would like him to sleep under a hand-made quilt that was made with love for and gratitude to, a soldier who is serving their country. It doesn’t matter what one’s role in the War on Terror is (my husband was an Army cook), you are over there prepared to give your life for your country and so I thank-you.

I have the privilege of living in a country where freedom was won a great personal cost.
When my first child was born I realised that if I had lived under Hitler my husband and children would have been taken away.
I see the refugees being settled in my community and realise the trauma they have had.
I wonder how I can give thanks to those who are trying to make a difference for this generation by whatever method.
I cannot fight - but I can sew. So I hope that the quilts and laundry bags give you encouragement, and I am grateful that Aussie Hero’s gives me a method of delivery.
 Thank you for trying to bring peace.

I first came across AHQ on the internet almost 10 months ago and straight away I was drawn to join.  Jan-Maree and her group had just sent out the first lot of quilts and laundry bags and I thought they were wonderful, and it was such a good idea.
Often on Social Media you see so many negative comments directed towards the Defence Force and I always think “WOW these guys and girls are only doing their jobs, they really don’t need to have all this negativity ”.  By sewing quilts and laundry bags I could show that we really do appreciate what  they do and where they are, and the sacrifices they make travelling and working away from their families for months on end.
Half the fun is finding some fun fabric that you hope will make someone on the other side of the world smile.  I have been known to surf the net for hours trying to find some crazy fabrics for laundry bags.
To date I believe I have made and sent off 21 Quilts and 36 Laundry Bags and collaborated on 6  Quilts with other quilters..... wish it was more, but there are only 24 hours in a day and in some of those I have to sleep.
I love to read all the messages through the blog from the guys and girls that have received a quilt and laundry bag, and the photo’s of them holding them proudly brings a tear to my eye.  They have smiles from ear to ear.  Of course it is even more special when you receive a lovely personal message of thanks for a quilt or a laundry bag, but this is just the cherry on the top and we can’t all have the cherry, so reading everyone else’s spurs me on to sew more.
I am so proud to be an Aussie Hero Quilt Friend and the be part of the  on-line community that is growing everyday.  I am always thinking of the guys and girls overseas working on OP Slipper in Afghanistan and in all the other countries that they get sent to, and wish I could do more.  I am glad they know through Aussie Hero’s that we are thinking of them and it’s not just their families that find the time to do something to make their days.

I want to sew for AHQ for several reasons - I enjoy making things with fabric, I enjoy it even more if there is a practical purpose for what I make, I am a big softy when it comes to caring for kids and many of our service men and women are just kids away from home and I'd like to be part of this group of generous, selfless Aussie women.

"I wish to thank all our Aussie Defence men and women, both past and present, as without your fighting spirit we would not be free to live in this wonderful land and enjoy the pleasures of family and friends and of being able to move freely around our homeland.
These kind of things we take for granted in this country, without giving much thought to the sacrifice others have made, and are still making, to ensure our freedom.
As a country we haven't always shown gratitude and love to the members of our forces so I hope and pray that by contributing to Aussie Hero Quilts I can let you know how much I appreciate what you are doing and in some small way help to rectify past wrongs.

My husband is a veteran who served for 26 years. I love to quilt. Our concern is for the morale and well being of the troops. I simply love sewing for our Aussie Heroes.

My reason “Sewing for AHQ, for me, is like giving our serving members a hug from OZ!” 

I can’t bear to listen to ‘The Last Post!’ I never could. It just brings tears to my eyes. So I don’t go to the Dawn Service.
I watch ANZAC Cove. What really gets to me is hearing the lapping of the waves along the shore, during the silence. One thinks about all the carnage and suffering that happened all those years ago. Young men and their families who have suffered.
I always watch ANZACS with Paul Hogan , although I’ve seen it so many times.
Closer to home. I grew up with a brother who was in the landing at Dieppe  so I understand the stresses of war. We lived his stress.
I nursed Viet Nam vets. I worked in Viet Nam. I can empathize with their experiences.  A digger at the battle of Lon Tang, who couldn’t understand how he could step over his dead mates, and keep on firing.’
I don’t understand all the political reasons why our chaps from my home countries of Canada/ Australia are where they are. I just know that I have to give them all the support I can, in letting them know that they’re cared about. Not left on some battle field.


I started making laundry bags to use up some materials my mother left me and I know she would have been happy as to how it was used. I continue now to make the bags hoping that in a small way they can make the lives of the men and women serving overseas in the most difficult conditions easier and so they know that they are in the thoughts of the Australian public and that to me they are all true Aussie Heroes.

I feel its important for me to contribute to Aussie Heroes Quilts as I have the time, health, energy and ability to give something of myself through the quilts and LBs I have made and the ones I will create in the days to come. The people of the armed forces are doing a selfless task of defending the country we live in and helping others overseas. Whether it be rebuilding or defending a country in chaos and hurt, they do their best every day and put their own lives on the line, as we've seen time and time again over many years. Its the least I can do even though its a small part. I am thankful and grateful for their dedication and hope they are all happy, well and safe. Regards

As a child I remember being given the privilege of laying the wreath at a "Service", we use to pick the white daisies that grow in abundance in our wheatbelt town and them being sent down to Perth for Remembrance day.
AS I got older was lucky to be a female and missed out on going to Vietnam -not so for some of my friends.
22 years ago I started quilting and gave to various causes more out of having to get rid of them, too many for me and I enjoyed making them.
Then years ago I saw QUILTS OF VALOUR in America and thought why not here for ours?
Not knowing how or what to do I just looked at theirs.
THEN I saw a post about QUILTS FOR OUR GUYS AND HAVE BEEN MAKING THEM EVER SINCE , IT IS GOOD TO DO THAT FOR THEM AS THEY NEED TO BE SHOWN WE MAY NOT LIKE WHERE THEY ARE BUT WE SUPPORT THEM IN THEIR JOBS and the best part I can still stay unknown to them.
Over the years women and men that stay at home in Australia have knitted sox , sent parcels and sewn laundry bags for as long as there have been off shore needs.  It is great to be able to help and do my little bit for our Service Personal overseas.   And I am grateful for those  people who, while saying they don't believe on war, are donating money and fabric to me to continue making the quilts, as with out that support I couldn't sew them.
So a big thanks to the SERVICE PERSONAL and the DONORS for the work they do to make it a better world for us.
And also a big thanks to Aussie Heroes for now enabling me to make Quilts of Valour.

The reason I sew for Aussie Heroes is quite selfish really. I live a comfortable middle class life in a beautiful country. The sacrifices made by the brave men and women of the Australian Defence Forces help to ensure this continues for my children and grandchildren. Sewing for Aussie Heroes allows me to show them I appreciate their efforts.

When I first read your article in the Advertiser Newspaper I thought what a great idea, what a wonderful group to be involved with.
For me it is a personal challenge as well as being part of a support network for Aussie soldiers & sailors. 
I have a son in the Navy.  I had also watched Ross Kemp in Afghanistan & my heart went out to the English soldiers & their families.  
The thought of someone I haven't met receiving a quilt I have made gives me warm fuzzies.  
To know that it provides a bit of comfort while they are away from their family & friends is one of the best feelings to have.
To me these soldiers are our heroes, not the athletes or actors, and they deserve all the support & recognition.
I think that is why I do this

To me it is important to help as my son in law is in the Defence Force and has been twice away from his young family and we are grateful for his safe return.
This gives me a chance to give something back and make someone's time away a little more comfortable, also let our soldiers know we care.

Why supporting the troops is important to me....
My Grandmother spoke of seeing all the troops marching down George Street in the city going to board boats headed off to war. She spoke of how they had strong limbs and head their heads high. She always told me that those who served did so that I could live free and happy.
My great uncle served, he was a Rat of Tobruk. He was a strong proud man who served is country with pride.
These two people have influenced my opinion towards those who serve. They give up time with their family so that I can be with mine, they put their lives at risk so I don't have to risk mine.
Thank you for all that you do, I hope that what we do makes life that bit easier for you.

When our daughter walked away from us, through the airport departure gate, to commence deployment in Iraq all I wanted to do was follow and wrap my arms around her to keep her safe in our love.
Sewing quilts for our serving men and women makes me feel that our country’s arms are surrounding them with love and support, and hopefully providing their families with the same.

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 Well, I asked everyone to share why they sew for Aussie Heroes.  I guess it is only fair that I also share.  I spent 15 years in the military, first as an Air Traffic Controller in the RAAF and then as an Admin Officer in the Navy.  Once you have joined up you never really leave.  There is something of it that always stays in your heart. You have gained a second family.  I had reached a point in my life where I had time to think about doing something for someone other than my husband and children.  I had the time and resources.   I read about Quilts of Valor and thought there should be something for our Service Men and Women.  I didn't set out to start Aussie Heroes in the beginning, when I arranged quilts and laundry bags for one man and his mates, but then I got to a point where it was more a case of well if not me then who?  And why not me?  

I am just so glad that we have been able to make a difference.  To know that half the world away we are bringing some unexpected cheer to our Aussie men and women - to know that the wounded heading off to Germany go with one of our quilts  - just humbles me.  Aussie Heroes is just about little people saying they care, saying they are proud of you and saying that you and your families matter to all of us.  And when lots of little people do something people start to notice and the people who count are you guys!

Remembrance Day will be a solemn day, a sad day, a reflective day and will affect different people in different ways.  I just hope that this message from us will let you know that you are not alone - no matter where you are.


We will take the time to remember you as well as remembering those who have gone before you and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

LEST WE FORGET



5 comments:

  1. I just wanted to share with you a status that a young Mom friend of my step daughter shared on Facebook today about her son, who stood still and silent when the minute silence came on the radio, and then Master R (about age 8 I think) then proceeded to explain to his little sister that it is to respect all of the soldiers that have died for our country. How patriotic is he?

    Lest we forget
    Naomi

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  2. All your blog posts are inspirational, Jan-Maree, but this one was even more so. Thank you for taking the time to keep the blog up to date with all the messages. We had the Eltham Festival here on Sunday, and at 11 am I was walking down Main Road with a friend when we noticed a huge crowd spread right across the road, in front of the War Memorial. The police had stopped the traffic (no mean feat on this busy road) for the two minute silence, and I was so proud to be a part of that silent crowd honoring the Fallen.
    I am a very minor cog in your wonderful wheel, but am very pleased to be a part of it, no matter how small!

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  3. I read your posts from the US and applaud your decision to form Aussie Heros, and kudos to all those participating. It is a lot of work, but nothing compared to the sacrifices of those who serve in the military. Thank you for sharing your inspiration through your blog.

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