THE 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be commemorated with a special service in Wagga’s Victory Memorial Gardens on Saturday.
Organised by the Wagga sub-branch of the RSL, the service will begin at 10.55am at the Sandakan Memorial, off Morrow Street.
Victory in the Pacific Day commemorates the end of WWII with the surrender of Japanese forces on August 15, 1945.
The service’s master of ceremonies, Bob Toose, said the annual service this year would include some extra touches to mark the anniversary milestone.
They include a catafalque party supplied by RAAF Base Wagga.
Standing at the Sandakan memorial on Thursday, Mr Toose and fellow sub-branch committee member Reg Hearne urged as many people as possible to attend the service and pay tribute to the 27,000 Australia men and women who died inn WWII.
“It’s so special because the service men and women sacrificed so much for Australia, for the families of Australia to keep us safe, and we need to remember those who never came home like we do on Anzac Day,” Mr Hearne said.
“In my lifetime, Victory in the Pacific Day is a most important day because it ended a war that was so hard on prisoners of war,” Mr Toose said.
“Victory in the Pacific saved the lives of up to 17,000 Australian prisoners of war; they were earmarked for death in the first week of September.”
Saturday’s service will include a keynote address by Dr Ian Grant, wreath-laying, prayers of remembrance, the Ode of Remembrance and the Last Post.
The RSL sub-branch has about 360 members, and a good number of them are WWII veterans, Mr Hearne said. Still, there would hardly be any aged under 88 or 89, according to Mr Toose, and age is starting to take a toll on them.
“We have lost five in the past month,” Mr Hearne said.
Meanwhile, Hay’s VP Day service will include a march to the front of Hay Memorial High School led by the Australian Army Band Kapooka. A RAAF Orion will fly over Pine Street and the Kapooka band will play at a free concert in the Spirit of Anzac Centre.
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