Veterans and red poppies take pride of place on Remembrance Day

TOUCHING: Korean war veteran John Cooper joined Ballarat's Remembrance Day ceremony while visiting his brother from the Sunshine Coast. Pictures: Lachlan Bence
TOUCHING: Korean war veteran John Cooper joined Ballarat's Remembrance Day ceremony while visiting his brother from the Sunshine Coast. Pictures: Lachlan Bence

Korean war veteran Sgt John Cooper, 84, donned his slouch hat and service medals and with misty eyes remembered the horror of war as he sat in the warm sunshine at Ballarat’s Remembrance Day service.

Visiting Ballarat from the Sunshine Coast to see his brother, the army veteran was relieved to find and join the official service.

His memories were too big for words, but they were etched on his face.

“I went to Korea. It was pretty rough, that’s about all I can say,” he said with a tear welling in his eye.

“It was a beautiful service here with a really good little crowd.”

Mr Cooper joined other veterans, families and dignitaries to mark Remembrance Day and the 99th anniversary of the the end of WWI, at the cenotaph in Sturt St.

Guest speaker Keith Lanyon, president of the Ballarat branch of the Air Force Association gave the commemorative address, warning that war is still with us and urging individuals to take responsibility for peace.

“We are under threat from a tiny nation on the other side of the world which pours its resources in to nuclear weapons, the Middle East is still smouldering with an occasional eruption, and war is still with us,” he warned.

“Personal peace means knowing what is good and practicing good. It’s not about trying to force others to behave but finding peace with yourself and your circumstances, and peace demands the practice of forgiveness … and the release that brings because instead of pursuing vengeance we can pursue peace.”

POISED: Members of the Sebastopol Cadet Unit stand ready to march in to position as the catafalque party to stand watch over the Ballarat cenotaph for the duration of the Remembrance Day ceremony.

POISED: Members of the Sebastopol Cadet Unit stand ready to march in to position as the catafalque party to stand watch over the Ballarat cenotaph for the duration of the Remembrance Day ceremony.