Though the same silence is observed at the 11th hour of November 11 each year, when the silence fell over the Western Front for the first time, it was 8pm in Wagga.
A centenary since the war ended, at the weekend, 600 men, women and children marched on Baylis Street behind the Kapooka Australian Military Band.
Of those, roughly 350 were currently serving members of the army, ariforce, navy and auxiliaries.
Also joining the procession was the mounted infantry re-enactment ensemble.
“It was certainly more than we expected to see in the march,” said Wagga RSL Sub-Branch Remembrance Day committee chief David Abbott.
The former soldier followed the procession, while his son, 22-year-old rifleman Dale Abbott, carried the flag ahead of the uniformed marchers.
Upon arrival at Wagga’s cenotaph inside the Victory Memorial Gardens, the national flags were raised to half-mask while the catafalque party stood in attendance.
During the course of the four years of war, 62,000 Australians died or went missing. An additional 166,000 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner. They were part of the 417,000 Australians who served.
Though the war affected all states and territories, it had its most profound effect on the smaller towns across the nation.
As evidenced by the cenotaphs across the Riverina, thousands were lost. In Lockhart Shire, a hundred soldiers failed to return. In Junee, a further 180 lost their lives.
Afghan veteran and active member of the First Recruit Training Battalion at Blamey Barracks, Major Michael Jasny illustrated the loss in greater emphasis.
To put that into a bit of perspective today, that would be every man, woman and child in Wagga would have been killed, and everyone within a 200-kilometre radius wounded.Major Michael Jasny
During the main street procession, Major Jasny had the honour of carrying the torch for those who have served in all subsequent wars.
“To say I was humbled was an understatement. A contemporary veteran I may be, I have seen some things and experienced some loss,” he said.
He recognised the acute honour, as a descendant of First World War soldiers.
“I can say with absolute certainty that I have never witnessed the depravity experienced by our brothers and sisters in arms, the old guard, my great-grandfathers a century ago.”
“How lucky are we that the Anzacs, our forebears, would possess such a profound sense of duty that they would sacrifice everything to travel to distant lands – some 8000 miles away – to fight tyranny.
“Even more extraordinary is the fact that the survivors who returned home, scarred by the horrors of the supposed ‘war to end all wars’, courageously picked up their old lives and continued serving their families, their communities and this great country.”
Major Jasny thanked the members of the civilian public who had joined the procession through the streets.
“Do we not owe them? Well, of course, we do that’s why we’re here today. On behalf of all those who served in the First World War, and indeed all veterans past and present as well as all ex-serving and serving members of the ADF in the Riverina. I sincerely thank you all for being here.
That you have taken a small amount of time out of your weekend to be here, and likewise on days such as Anzac Day is the right way to honour the men and women who have fought, sacrificed, suffered and died in service to Australia.Major Michael Jasny
“Believe me when I say it means more to those who are still around than you can possibly imagine.”
The acting president of the Wagga RSL Sub Branch Richard Salcole paid tribute to neighbouring towns across the region and their unique means of commemoration.
“In Temora, a Hudson bomber actually delivered 62,000 poppies to signify every single Australian who was lost during the bloody war,” said.
“Those in uniforms have taken the toll to serve their countries, and their families have bared the costs of losing them.
Mr Salcole served 15 years as a logistics specialist in the defence force.
He urged the gathering of observers to remember not only those who had died abroad but those who had returned with the adversities they faced to plague them forever.
“It’s a matter of remembering all veterans. The signing of the armistice was to end all wars, but the 62,000 were the to be the first of many Australians lost in subsequent battles,” said Mr Salcole.
“When the Second World War came just a few years later, another generation of Australians were at war. The bombing of Darwin, the bombing of Sydney Harbour and the Battle of the Coral Sea, as well as the threat to Melbourne really showed how close war came to our shores.
“From there were moved into Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam. The battles raged on and on, but we still remembered those fallen in World War One.”
In previous years, the signing of the armistice has been recognised with a minute’s signing at 11 o’clock. But this year, a two-minute silence was observed.
On November 11, 1919, to recognise the first year since the war’s end, the British monarch King George V ordered all Commonwealth subjects to suspend activity for two full minutes in honour of those who had been lost.
To usher the close of the commemorative silence in Wagga this year, Kapooka’s Australian Army Band joined the Australian Military Wives Choir and Ozy Youth Choir lead the gathering in the national anthem.
There are no remaining veterans of the First World War alive today, but many of their relatives and descendants were present. City mayor Greg Conkey is one such representative.
He joined the acting president of the Richard Salcole in laying one of the six commemorative wreaths.