The war to end all wars – if only that were true.
When the guns fell silent on November 11, 1918, civilians back home celebrated but the soldiers themselves, reportedly, did not indulge in cheers.
It was over, that was enough.
Four years of conflict on a scale barely able to be imagined had left a terrible mark.
The casualty numbers were horrific, not helped by military leaders clinging to 19th century strategies that failed against the modern weapons.
More than 60,000 Australians never returned home and not one who did remained unaffected.
Plenty who survived with their life still left their health, peace of mind and, sometimes, sanity in the trenches.
These losses spread their ripple effects as loved ones mourned their dead and communities struggled to adjust to veterans who had seen so much they would not or could not share.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
Amateur historian Karral Miller, a key organiser of this weekend's commemorations in the Sandy Creek hall, wondered how many of those men suffered what we now know as post-traumatic stress.
“I would suggest most of them,” she told The Border Mail.
“And of course there was no diagnosis or no treatment for that.”
With the hindsight of 100 years, we know The Great War did not keep that name but far too soon became part of a list.
Few years since have been untouched by battles somewhere in the world and our defence personnel continue to be called upon.
The centenary of the Armistice signing on Sunday offers a chance to stop, be still, and remember all those who served and are still serving this country we all know as home.
But remembrance needn’t be confined to that minute, especially as there is still work to be done.
Recent government research indicates transitioned Australian Defence Force members were more likely to report poorer health, satisfaction and quality of life than those serving full-time, a fact groups like Soldier On also recognise.
So while we honour the ultimate sacrifice made by so many, think also on those still among us who continue to struggle.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here