Remembrance Day 2021 commemorated at the Australian War Memorial

The nation's Remembrance Day ceremony has taken place at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Compared with "normal" times, it was a pared down ceremony, on the lawn of the sculpture garden to the side of the main building instead of on the parade ground looking down Anzac Parade towards parliament.

But the overwhelming mood of the moment was that it wasn't as diminished as it was a year ago in the very depths of the pandemic. Last year, only 200 attended but this year it was 500.

And the broader mood was of reverence for those who have served and for those who have died in all of Australia's operations.

"It was never in vain because putting service before self is never in vain. Today, we remember. Lest we forget," the Australian War Memorial's director, Matthew Anderson, said to the guests on the rows of distanced seats.

Governor-General, General David Hurley arrives at the ceremony. Picture: Steve Evans

Governor-General, General David Hurley arrives at the ceremony. Picture: Steve Evans

Wreaths were laid, the first by the Governor-General, General David Hurley, and followed by a wreath laid on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Diplomats laid their wreaths on Thursday because of the restriction on numbers.

One of the most moving moments was the sounding of the Last Post.

As the bugle sounded over the still morning, it was echoed by bugles sounding the similar moment in ceremonies across Canberra.

Wreaths at the memorial. Picture: Steve Evans

Wreaths at the memorial. Picture: Steve Evans

The ceremony was the 103rd anniversary of the armistice at the end of the First World War on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. That was "the war to end all war".

But the ceremony was also on the 80th anniversary of the ceremony that marked the opening of the Australian War Memorial in 1941 when Australia was in the depths of the total war caused by Hitler.

One of the people who attended was also at that first ceremony.

Ada Rayner. Picture; Steve Evans

Ada Rayner. Picture; Steve Evans

Ada Rayner was a nine-year-old girl whose father was a marching serviceman.

"I particularly wanted to be at this one," she said. For her Remembrance Day is all important because of her early involvement. "ANZAC Day is important but I wanted to be here on Remembrance Day."

At that ceremony in 1941, the Japanese ambassador was present, a month before Imperial Japan attacked the US fleet in Pearl Harbour, bringing the United States into the war.

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This story The nation remembers 'war to end all war' at ceremony in Canberra first appeared on The Canberra Times.