A time to reflect

A time to reflect

Cannington Districts RSL members Baldev Singh, George Bell, Terry Reynolds, Don Phillips and Sharron Hickey. Photograph – Richard Polden.

It’s our national story, a story about being there for others when they need help, no matter who they are or where they are.

That’s how Brett Caines, President of the Canning Districts RSL, describes what ANZAC Day means to him and his members.

Over the last few years, the local RSL has had to work very hard to get back on its feet after the organisation went under administration, but thanks to the efforts and improvements made by its team of dedicated members and volunteers, there has been a renewed interest from the public.

“I think it’s a national thing, a family thing, and a personal thing,” President Brett Caines said.

“It’s a national day to commemorate those who have gone before us, and those who are still deployed today during this time of unrest to protect Australia.

“It is about defending anyone’s right to pursue their own small patch of equality.”

As it is for many of us, it’s also a time to reflect on what sacrifice means.

“It’s making the decision to join the forces and be away from loved ones,” he said.

“Missing birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmases. Also not being there to support the significant other during the children’s early years can be difficult.

“Being with mates on ANZAC day spinning stories about the good and funny times we had is great, but we also have to watch out for those mates who are suffering for what they had to witness during their service.

“As we are all aware, we are still losing too many of our returned servicemen to suicide,” he said.

After the devastating news that ANZAC Days across the nation had to be cancelled during covid, local RSLs are expecting a bumper turn out this year.

“I’m expecting a big crowd this year,” Brett Caines said.

“It has steadily been growing over the last couple of years.

“Our gardens are looking great, and we have the mural now and this will only attract more people to the RSL.

Cannington Districts RSL President Brett Caines and stands with members and veterans. Photograph – Richard Polden.

The planning is done. And we are ready to welcome everyone to the dawn service,” he said.

Membership Officer George Bell reflected his President’s sentiments.

“ANZAC Day to me, means I can commemorate the sacrifice of former military members who gave their lives so I may have a better one,” he said.

“The message I would like to get out to the younger generation is that we all should be proud of the sacrifice made by previous generations of our military members, to remember them with pride and not animosity.

“It reminds us of the values and qualities that the ANZACs embodied and that we aspire to uphold: courage, compassion, loyalty, and freedom.

“Lest We Forget,” he said.

Canning and Districts RSL secretary Eleanor Wilkins said the local League is always looking for new members and volunteers.

“We are always looking for items and ideas for raffle prizes and we have regular social nights to help.

“Our Friday meals are a big thing, so please feel free to drop by for a meal and say g’day,” she said.

You can contact Canning Districts RSL on (08) 9350 5593.

A Dawn Service will be held 162 Wharf Street in Cannington at 6am.