As the bugle sounds the Last Post on Remembrance Day this year, the subsequent silence enveloping the city will echo the sound of peace.
It will be the same sound our Australian soldiers heard 100 years ago, when the official ceasefire marked the end of World War I.
It was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but as Wagga RSL Sub-Branch acting president Richard Salcole said: “We have not seen peace since”.
Mr Salcole said it was for this reason, past and serving members of the Australian Defence Force would be invited to march down Baylis Street in a once-off parade from 10am on November 11.
Members of the Light Horse Troop will lead, soldiers, airmen and seamen of all ages, wars and experiences, as they stand shoulder to shoulder, making their way from the corner of Baylis and Morgan streets to the Victory Memorial Gardens in a city-first march.
It’s about remembering all who served and all who paid the ultimate sacrifice.David Abbott
Like the parade, Wagga’s Remembrance Day co-ordinator, David Abbott said every part of the centenary service would be steeped in symbolism.
He said combining young and old in a single group would help to marry the sacrifices of the past, the service of the present and the resulting peace and freedom of the future.
As the last of the military-affiliated men and women move past the Baylis Street crowd, residents have been invited to “fall in” behind, following the procession to the Cenotaph.
Mr Abbott said the unique take on tradition would reflect the soldiers’ homecoming parade 100 years ago.
After years of fighting in mud, blood, sand and dirt trenches, with the death toll rising on an unprecedented scale, the war finally was finally over.
But the joy and relief of peace had come at a cost, with close to 60,000 Australian soldiers killed and another 156,000 wounded, gassed or taken prisoner before November 11, 1918.
One century later, a solemn lull, is expected to settle across a crowd of hundreds at the Wagga Cenotaph.
Residents will have an opportunity to pay respects to men and women from the city, who fought, died and survived The Great War.
“It’s about remembering all who served and all who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Mr Abbott said.
“It’s also about remembering we are still at war.”