St Joseph’s College Mildura will play a key role in this year’s community Anzac Day services.
St Joseph's College captains Rinaldo Pender and Iman Westhead are pictured laying a wreath at the college flagpole on Monday . They will also lay a wreath at Wednesday's dawn service in Henderson Park.
Mildura RSL has invited students from the college to pay tribute to those who served and lost their lives at war.
At the 6am dawn service, the college captains will read out the names of the 57 servicemen who died in flight training at Mildura’s No.2 Operational Training Unit during World War II.
During the 8.30am memorial service at Mildura War Cemetery, where the servicemen are buried, a student will stand behind each of the 57 headstones, lay a flower and sing the national anthem.
The college captains will also attend the 11.30am commemoration service to lay a wreath. Principal Marg Blythman said the college was honoured to perform such an important role this year.
“Our young people will be the ones keeping the memories of our veterans’ sacrifices alive, so teaching them about the culture and history of Anzac Day is vital,” Mrs Blythman said.
“Many of the servicemen and women who lost their lives were around the same age or not much older than our students.”
“Knowing this, and being part of the memorial services, allows them to make a real connection with what people have done and sacrificed on behalf of our country.”
St Joseph’s College students and teachers also marked Anzac Day with a ceremony at the college today.
“Anzac Day is a significant event on our calendar and a valuable opportunity to thank those who served – in the past, present and future,” Mrs Blythman said.
Mildura RSL secretary and education officer John Searle, who is a former St Joseph’s College student, addressed the students at today’s service.
“It’s important that the younger generation is aware of the sacrifices that have been made – around 300 young people from Mildura who were around their age lost their lives,” Mr Searle said.
“If any young person sees a veteran on the way to an Anzac Day service, remember that one day they weren’t sure if they were going to survive another day.”
“Now they’ve made another Anzac Day, it’s with a great sense of achievement and pride, so what you should do is politely say ‘well done, enjoy your day, and thank you’.”
Mr Searle said the public war graves service was a crucial part of Mildura’s Anzac Day this year.
“We’ve been holding a service at the war graves for more than 60 years, but it’s generally just a core group of people from the RSL who attend,” he said.
“A lot of people don’t know about the graves because they’re part of the old cemetery, so by opening the service to the community this year we can make more people aware of what happened and keep that part of our history alive.”