South-west residents are being urged to join services around the region to mark the centenary of the Armistice on the weekend.
Warrnambool RSL Sub-branch president and Vietnam veteran John Miles said this year’s services held particular significance.
“We’d love to see as many people as possible attend the service on Sunday,” he said. “It’s a Sunday and the weather is looking good and this year marks 100 years since the end of World War One.
“We also have a few firsts this year just to mix it up a bit, including the release of 100 pigeons marking 100 years.”
Warrnambool’s Remembrance Day Service will begin at 10am with a service by the Salvation Army Corp at the city’s War Memorial on Artillery Crescent.
This will be followed at 10.30am with music and songs by the RSL Youth Choir who consist of young people from all four Warrnambool secondary schools, supported by the Salvation Army band.
“Gunditjmara will represent the service of our Indigenous community by presenting a smoking ceremony at the Indigenous memorial from 11am,” Mr Miles said.
Following an introduction by John Miles, Salvation Army Majors Peter and Karina Wood will then lead with prayers.
Mr Miles said he was particularly proud to have his granddaughter join him in service this year.
“Yes my 13 year-old granddaughter Alyssa Miles-Obray will be reading a verse on Sunday morning and I’m very happy to have her up there with me.”
The service will then follow with a solo performance by Emmanuel College student Sarasa Deguchi.
“The ode will be performed in two parts this year,” Mr Miles said. “The first by World War Two veteran Marg Morton and the second by contemporary veteran Charlie Currucan.”
“The oration will be presented by David McGuiness who will be dressed in World War One uniform.”
This year’s event will also feature two bugle players, Lyndsay Stowe and Bernie Opperman.
“And we’ll include the national anthem and New Zealand national anthems played by the youth choir,” Mr Miles said.
The Remembrance Day service will conclude with the release of 100 pigeons marking the the 100 year anniversary.
“They were used to transport messages during the First World War,” Mr Miles said. “So it seemed a fitting addition.”
Mr Miles said Doug Heazlewood would conduct ceremony tours of World War One graves from 1.30pm with city bagpipers joining a global movement to play ‘The Battles Over’ from 5pm.