GOVERNOR-GENERAL Sir Peter Cosgrove has placed Wimmera Anzac Day commemorative services at the heart of the nation.
Addressing a crowd at Horsham RSL on Wednesday, Sir Peter said it was the perfect way to end his tour of the region.
“We’ve been to some wonderful places but to capstone it by coming here is great, especially on the eve of Anzac Day,” he said.
He said Anzac services were filled with meaning for rural communities.
“I’m just picturing all you great men and women there in the early morning,’’ he said.
“I can imagine the solemnity of a rural commemoration of Anzac Day.”
After visiting the Horsham Cenotaph he reflected on the vast number of lives lost at war.
“Some families might have almost been wiped out by the war,” Sir Peter said.
“It just goes to show what a wonderful heart of our country we have in rural Australia where it can give up its sons – and these days its sons and daughters – to serve the country and stand in harm’s way.
“For those of you who are returned men and women and to those of you who are in the uniform of Australia’s Defence Force I salute you and I thank you for your welcome.”
“It just goes to show what a wonderful heart of our country we have in rural Australia where it can give up its sons – and these days its sons and daughters – to serve the country and stand in harm’s way."
One of Australia’s most decorated former servicemen, Sir Peter received a Military Cross for his service in the Vietnam War.
In 1999 as a Major General he led an international peacekeeping force to East Timor.
He was Chief of Army from 2000 to 2002 and Chief of the Defence Force from 2002 to 2005.
Earlier on Wednesday, Sir Peter visited Laharum and Wartook where he assured bushfire survivors they would not be forgotten.
“Maybe by me talking to them I can just become expert enough to mention to other people how they’re travelling,” he said.
Horsham Mayor David Grimble said meeting the Governor-General at Wandong to thank BlazeAid volunteers earlier in the month had influenced Sir Peter’s decision to visit the Wimmera.
“There’s no question about it, the bushfire impacts on our community were what elevated him to meet our community so promptly,” he said.
“Listening in on some of the conversations, people sounded pleased to have that level of support and to know the Governor-General was thinking about them.
“I think they found it comforting to know there was that level of support for our community.”
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said it was a coup to have the newly minted Governor-General in the region.
“I think it’s a fantastic achievement for the community because the Governor-General is a very busy person and he hasn’t been in the job that long,” he said.
“He would have picked up a lot of knowledge about this region so it will help us in the work he does as Governor-General for Australia.”