THE bells on Peel St rung out and once the coos of a baby slowly subsided, silence filled the Tamworth Town Hall.
As if the oxygen had been sucked out from the hall, the room held its breath until the opening notes of the bugler’s rouse returned air to the room allowing the town’s commemorators to exhale.
It was the eleventh hour on the eleventh day on the eleventh month and as many communities have done for the past 99 years, Tamworth paused to mark Remembrance Day.
The moment of silence observed, each year, on November 11 echoes the hush which fell over the battlegrounds at the end of World War I when the armistice treaty was signed.
“In that silence they met a truth so obvious and so terrifying they swore they would never take up arms again,” Tamworth RSL sub-branch vice-president Anne Lane said.
“They vowed never to forget.
“We pledged together in our communities at this hour, on this singular day of remembrance, so that we might fall silent again and again and again.”
Despite Remembrance Day falling on a Saturday this year, just over 150 people made the effort to attend the annual ceremony at the Tamworth War Memorial Town Hall, with rows of seats left unoccupied.
Local youngsters almost outnumbered adults at the ceremony with representatives, apparently, from every primary and secondary school in Tamworth present at the town hall to lay a wreath in remembrance.
Mrs Lane laid out the stark reality of war in her address.
“We’ve lost more than 100,000 lives,” she said.
“We have gained a legend.
“A story of bravery and sacrifice and, with it, a deeper faith in ourselves.”
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The Tamworth RSL sub-branch broke slightly with tradition and used the ceremony to start the process of handing over the reins of the organisation’s chaplaincy.
Long-serving chaplain Fr Tom Shanahan, will now share duties with his newly sworn-in assistant padre, Rev Chris Wright, who was officially inducted to the sub-branch at the service.
Youthful tone marks service
TAMWORTH school students donned their uniforms on Saturday morning for a change as they turned out en masse to pay homage on Remembrance Day.
Captains from primary and secondary school in Tamworth, and some outlying villages, represented their peers, laying wreathes in commemoration.
There was a recurring, young tone through the service, from the youthful voice leading the catafalque party to the commemorative address given by Calrossy student Thomas Burke.
The Calrossy student gave a perceptive speech about war’s tragedies and riffed on the ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ metaphor.
“It is said war is a tragedy for it brings fear and anger, suffering and hate, hubris and destruction,” he said.
“In the context of remembrance, war is a tragedy in another sense.”
“War is blinding for it takes the giants from us, each of them something more than just a soldier.
“More than what they might have otherwise been had they not answered the call.”