Don’t forget young veterans, Margaret River RSL pleads

Tom ZaunmayrAugusta Margaret River Times
VideoKen Topperwien answered the request from Margaret River RSL to come and play at their Dawn Service this morning.

It was a Dawn Service speech laced with emotion, a powerful message to Margaret River residents and guests of our town to honour those who have followed in the footsteps of our brave World War I veterans.

Margaret River RSL President Keith Simmonds used his opening address this morning to challenge those gathered before him to expand their gratitude not only to the grey-haired vets, but to those who answered the call to serve in recent conflict.

Mr Simmonds said there were many veterans in their twenties and thirties who must not be forgotten.

“We have recently come out of a period of five years where we have commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first world war,” he said.

“While it is right and proper that we have done so, I am little concerned that we may form a picture in our minds of a veteran being the old man down the street tending his rose garden.

Hundreds of Margaret River residents and guests made the early morning walk to Memorial Park for the 2019 dawn service.
Camera IconHundreds of Margaret River residents and guests made the early morning walk to Memorial Park for the 2019 dawn service. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr.

“I am also a little concerned that while we have been concentrating on the 100th anniversary of great and terrible sacrifice in places like Gallipoli, France and Belgium, we may forget the great and many sacrifices made both in the air and at sea by our Royal Australian Airforce and Royal Australian Navy.”

The service was capped off with a lighter moment when bugler Ken Topperwien, who answered The West Australian’s call to play in Margaret River, was presented with a surfboard as a tongue-in-cheek response to Inside Cover’s suggestion to play in boardies with a board tucked under his arm.

“I have been doing bugling all over the place for years and been to places where they have had recordings and it is just not the same,” he said.

“A live bugler in a situation like this is an absolute must I reckon.”

Mr Topperwien encouraged up-and-coming musicians to take up the mantle so Margaret River can have a local bugler next year.

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