The 72nd anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day, marking the end of WWII, was marked with a service hosted by the Yarrawonga Mulwala RSL Sub-Branch on August 15.
Two of Yarrawonga’s remaining WWII veterans, Stan Clark and Bruce Neal, attended the ceremony along with small gathering undeterred by persistent rain.
Guest speaker Yarrawonga College P-12 Captain Jake Willett spoke at the service, reflecting on the tremendous sacrifice of the war and the great relief when Japan accepted the Allied Forces demand for unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945.
“WWII claimed the lives of 40,000 Australians. 100,000 were wounded in combat. One million Australians had helped with the war effort,” Jake said.
“Many more, mothers and fathers, had sobbed in each other’s arms, counted days on a calendar, waited anxiously for handwritten mail, feared terribly a hand-delivered telegram.”
Jake recalled the announcement made by then Prime Minister Ben Chifley - his words ringing out over the radio to a relieved nation.
“He said, ‘the war is over…let us remember those whose lives were given that we may enjoy this glorious moment and may look forward to a peace which they have won for us’.
“Men, women and children stopped what they were doing and ran into the street. They cheered and embraced. Church bells rang, flags waved. Celebrations began.”
Wreaths were laid at the base of the Memorial Wall and following the service Stan Clark kindly presented Jake with a copy of his book, ‘A Trilogy – The League of Young Gardeners, The Kana Men, War on Australian Soil’ which he signed and dated to mark the occasion.